Michelle Obama's Mother Marian Shields Robinson Dead at 86

Originally appeared on E! Online

The Obamas are in mourning.

Marian Shields Robinson—the mom of former First Lady Michelle Obama and the grandmother of her and former President Barack Obama's kids Malia, 25, and Sasha, 22—died on the morning of May 31. She was 86.

"Marian Lois Shields Robinson—our mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother—had a way of summing up the truths about life in a word or two, maybe a quick phrase that made everyone around her stop and think," the family said in a statement shared to their social media accounts May 31. "Her wisdom came off as almost innate, as something she was born with, but in reality it was hard-earned, fashioned by her deep understanding that the world's roughest edges could always be sanded down with a little grace."

They continued, "As a mother, she was our backstop, a calm and nonjudgmental witness to our triumphs and stumbles. She was always, always there, welcoming us back home no matter how far we had journeyed, with that deep and abiding love."

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As a grandmother, the Obamas said the matriarch was "at every stage of their lives, from infancy through adulthood, she stood secondary watch over her grandchildren's growth and development, inspiring them, listening to them, telling them she was proud of them, making them feel loved, like they were remarkable in every way."

Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Marian Shields Robinson, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama
Olivier Douliery- Pool/Getty Images

"We will all miss her greatly, and we wish she were here to offer us some perspective, to mend our heavy hearts with a laugh and a dose of her wisdom," read their statement, which was also issued on behalf of Michelle's brother Craig Robinson and his wife Kelly Robinson. "Yet we are comforted by the understanding that she has returned to the embrace of her loving Fraser, that she's pulled up her TV tray next to his recliner, that they're clinking their highball glasses as she's catching him up with the stories about this wild, beautiful ride. She's missed him so."

Born in Chicago to Purnell Shields and Rebecca Jumper, Marian spent most of her life living in the city. She married Michelle's late father Fraser C. Robinson III in 1960 and stayed with him until his death in 1991.

In 2009, she moved to Washington, D.C., to help take care of her granddaughters.

Michelle Obama, Marian Shields Robinson
Instagram/Michelle Obama

According to the family, it took quite the "healthy nudge" for her to relocate to the White House, though she "ended up being our rock through it all."

"The trappings and glamour of the White House were never a great fit for Marian Robinson," the Obamas recalled their tribute to Marian. "Over those eight years, she made great friends with the ushers and butlers, the folks who make the White House a home. She'd often sneak outside the gates to buy greeting cards at CVS, and sometimes another customer might recognize her."

After Barack's two-term presidency ended in 2017, Marian returned to her hometown, where she spent her time "reconnecting with longtime friends, trading wise-cracks, traveling, and enjoying a good glass of wine," the family said.

Remarking that there "was and will be only one Marian Robinson," her loved ones added, "In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life. And we will spend the rest of ours trying to live up to her example."

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