Surrounded by family and loved ones, Mario Rubio, father of Republican U.S. Senate nominee Marco Rubio, died Saturday night at Baptist Hospital in Miami after a long battle with emphysema and lung cancer. He was 83.
Marco Rubio had interrupted his campaign a number of times during the last five months to be with his father during his illness.
In his final moments, Mario was attended by his wife of 61 years, Oria, his children Mario, Barbara, Marco and Veronica, and his extended family.
On the passing of his father, Marco Rubio issued the following statement:
My father knew hard work and struggle from very early in his life. His mother died when he was only 9 years old. The day after his mother was buried he went to work with his father and did not stop working until he was 78 years old.
He was by far the most unselfish person I have ever known, always focused on others and never on his own well being. He was especially determined to provide his children opportunities he himself never had.
My dad worked as a street vendor, security guard, apartment building manager and crossing guard.But for most of his life he was a bartender, and by all accounts a great one. But his greatest success came from the two most important jobs he ever had: husband and father.
He was very proud of my public service. And over the last 18 months he became an expert channel surfer, constantly searching for my next television interview.
I was blessed to be raised by a world-class father. And I thank God for allowing my father to live long and healthy enough to see that the sacrifices he made for us were not in vain.
The Rubio for Senate campaign issued a statement on behalf of the Rubio family, announcing that politics will be placed on hold temporarily. "We will resume our full schedule some time in the coming days," campaign spokesman Alex Burgos said. "During this time, we respectfully ask for privacy for Marco and his family so they may mourn their loss in peace."
In lieu of flowers, the Rubio family requests honoring Mario Rubios memory by supporting the League Against Cancer/Liga Contra El Cancer http://ligacontraelcancer.org/.