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Marian Robinson, former first lady Michelle Obama's mother, dies at 86

Robinson became well-known by the American public during the Obama administration when she moved into the White House to help take care of her granddaughters.
First lady Michelle Obama lands in Milan, Italy to visit Expo 2015, with her daughters Malia and Sasha, and her mother Marian Robinson.
Posted at 4:16 PM, May 31, 2024

Marian Robinson, former first lady Michelle Obama's mother, has died. She was 86 years old. Robinson became well-known during the Obama administration after she moved from her home in Chicago into the White House.

She was often seen accompanying the family on presidential trips, but was not a government employee.

Mrs. Obama said in a statement, "My mom Marian Robinson was my rock, always there for whatever I needed. She was the same steady backstop for our entire family, and we are heartbroken to share she passed away today."

Former President Barack Obama said in a statement on Friday that Robinson "had a way of summing up the truths about life in a word or two, maybe a quick phrase that made everyone around her stop and think."

Obama said Robinson was one of seven children in her family growing up in Chicago's South Side. She studied to become a teacher and worked as a secretary during her career life. She met Fraser Robinson and they raised their children Craig, and Michelle the former first lady.

When the Obama family moved into the White House after former President Obama was elected, Robinson moved from Chicago with them to help care for her grandchildren.

After her time in the White House as a member of the family there to help with family duties, Robinson returned to Chicago to reconnect with "longtime friends, trading wise-cracks, traveling, and enjoying a good glass of wine," the former president wrote.

The message from the former president was shared by the former first lady on X. Robinson "passed peacefully" on Friday morning. "None of us are quite sure how exactly we’ll move on without her," former President Obama said.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden released a statement reflecting on their time with Robinson, calling her a "devoted mother and grandmother with a fierce and unconditional love of her family."

"She believed, like we do, that family is the beginning, middle and end," the Bidens said. "She moved into the White House to be there for her family when they needed her the most — and in so doing, she served her country right alongside them. Her life is a reminder that we are a great nation because we are a good people."