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Julia Thorne, Sen. Kerry's ex-wife, dies

From Mark Preston
CNN Washington Bureau

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Obituaries (General)
John F. Kerry
Julia Thorne

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Julia Thorne, the ex-wife of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer, a Kerry spokesman confirmed to CNN.

Thorne, 61, was an author who overcame depression. She had separated from the Massachusetts senator just as his political career began a sharp upward trajectory. She chose instead to cede the spotlight to Kerry, and eventually moved to Montana with her second husband, Richard Charlesworth.

Kerry and Thorne have two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa.

"Julia was the best mother two daughters could ask for," Kerry said in a statement released by his office. "She always put our kids ahead of everything. She was completely committed to them and their future. Julia fought a hugely courageous fight against cancer and she passed away with the same grace with which she lived. Everyone who knew her will miss her beyond words."

Thorne was born in New York City, and spent part of her formative years in Italy, where her father was a diplomat and the publisher of the Rome Daily Herald. She attended Foxcroft School in Virginia and was introduced to Kerry by her brother David.

Kerry and Thorne married in 1970, but the couple separated in 1982 during his successful run for lieutenant governor. They divorced six years later after he had been elected to the U.S. Senate.

During their marriage, Thorne began showing signs of depression and contemplated suicide. She defeated depression by 1990 and by all accounts the couple had an amicable relationship. She supported his unsuccessful bid to be president in 2004.

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