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Father of Senate Candidate Rubio Dies

The father of Marco Rubio, the Republican Senate candidate in Florida, died Saturday night, Rubio’s campaign announced. He was 83.

Mario Rubio had been suffering from emphysema and lung cancer. He died in a Miami hospital with his wife of 61 years and his four children by his side, according to a statement released Saturday night.

On Friday, Marco Rubio canceled a debate with Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, which was to air on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, because of his father’s poor health.

“He was by far the most unselfish person I have ever known, always focused on others, and never on his own well being,” Rubio said in the statement. “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.”

Rubio’s parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba following Fidel Castro’s takeover of the island nation.

“Politics will now be placed on temporary hold,” the statement said. “We will resume our full schedule some time in the coming days.”