- Associated Press - Sunday, September 5, 2010

MIAMI (AP) — The father of Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio has died after a long illness. He was 83.

Mr. Rubio’s campaign announced Saturday night that Mario Rubio died at Baptist Hospital in Miami after suffering from emphysema and lung cancer.

The campaign announcement said Mario Rubio was surrounded by his wife of 61 years, his four children and other relatives.

Mr. Rubio said his father “was especially determined to provide his children opportunities he himself never had.”

The candidate was forced Friday to cancel a debate with Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek because of his father’s declining condition.

Mr. Meek extended his condolences, saying, “Political differences take a back seat to the priority at hand — caring for a mother and spending time with family.”

Independent candidate Charlie Crist also issued a statement of condolence.

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