Statement on the Passing of Beau Biden

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 31, 2015

Teresa and I are heartbroken for Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill, and Joe, and particularly for Beau and Hallie’s two remarkable children, Hunter and Natalie. Beau’s loss is crushing for everyone lucky enough to have known him and the whole Biden family, because you can’t know them without feeling their overwhelming love for each other – for family.

For the Bidens, being there for each other was and is everything. Any real conversation with Joe was about family and how much he and Jill loved their children and grandchildren.

Life for them is family.

I’ll never forget what Joe Biden said to me about Beau while he was serving his country in Iraq. Beau had just turned down what some considered the opportunity of a lifetime, to be appointed to the Senate seat his Dad had held for almost 40 years.

"Beau is just so good," Joe said. "He's so good."

What an all-encompassing statement about how much Joe loved his eldest son and how much Beau loved his Dad.

Beau Biden was a son any father might hope to raise, and Joe Biden is the kind of father any boy would want. It made their relationship special. Beau also was special.

I got to know him just listening to Joe talk in the Senate cloakroom about his boys. Then I was fortunate to spend time with Beau when he first ran for Attorney General in 2006. He went off to war two years later. He didn't have to go. He didn't have to do any of it. But he was filled with a sense of honor, duty, and humility – to the core. He was a class act, period, ingrained with integrity, compassion, a sense of moral obligation to help others, and especially people who were hurting.

All that and more has long been ingrained in the Biden family, which has experienced pain before and come out stronger at the broken places, as Hemingway wrote so poignantly.

As we know, there are some things only God can explain. The tragic loss of the good, the young and the brave has haunted me for a long, long time now – and again today, with Beau's passing.

A few years ago, Joe, who, tragically, was already speaking from experience, described the period after losing a loved one as akin to "that black hole you feel in your chest, like you're being sucked back into it." But Joe has also said there comes a day "when the thought of your son or daughter, or your husband or wife, brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes."

As usual, Joe said it better than anyone else could. And while I know it may not come soon, Teresa and I wish that same peace for the Biden family, and all those who love them.

That's the solace we all rely on as we mourn Beau Biden and extend our profound shared sorrow to all the Biden family.