Eleanor Mondale, the daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale, died of brain cancer on Saturday. She was 51.
Hers was one of two prominent deaths on Saturday: Kara Kennedy, the daughter of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and the niece of former President John F. Kennedy, died of lung cancer, also at the age of 51.
Early Saturday morning, Sept. 17, 2011, our dearest sweet Eleanor passed away from this world, a journal entry on the Web site CaringBridge.org read. Eleanor Mondale Poling lived bravely, without regret or fear, with such amazing strength and grace, for six years after being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005.
Mondale campaigned for her father when he ran against Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. He ended up losing in one of the biggest landslides in American history, winning only Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
But Eleanor went on to have an illustrious career of her own, working first as a TV actress and later as a radio broadcaster and entertainment reporter.
She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005 after having two seizures, but she was treated successfully with chemotherapy and radiation and returned to work as the co-host of a radio show in Minneapolis. But the cancer returned in 2009 and she had to retire for good. She had surgery to remove the tumor and reported that it had been successful, but nearly six years after her diagnosis, she finally succumbed.
She was a wonderful daughter, Walter Mondale told The New York Times on Saturday. A great spirit, a lot of courage. She fought this stuff almost six years now, and never a whimper.
Eleanor, born in 1960, was one of three Mondale children. She had relationships with several celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Zevon and Don Henley, and was married three times: to former NFL player Keith Van Horne in 1988, to disc jockey Greg Malban in 1991 and to jazz musician Chan Poling in 2005. She and Poling were still married when she died, and living on a small farm with dogs, cats, horses, chickens and a cockatoo, according to The New York Times.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton released a statement after Mondale's death. From the shy teenager I first met, Eleanor transformed -- and transcended! -- into a very beautiful, poised, multi-talented and accomplished woman, Dayton said. She loved her family, friends and animals, as she loved life.
Mondale is survived by her parents, Poling and two brothers, both of whom have previously worked in politics: Ted Mondale as a Minnesota state senator, and William Mondale as assistant attorney general of Minnesota.