Kathleen Lenihan, 60, of Kent, the mother of congressional candidate Dan Roberti, died Saturday after a long battle with melanoma, his campaign announced.

“My mother was an inspiration to everyone in our family,” Roberti said in an emailed statement. “We drew on her strength, relished her wit, and sought to embody her compassion. She was a schoolteacher who challenged her students to make their world a better place. She set that same goal for my brother and me, always encouraging us to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves. Her values are her legacy and will be our enduring guide.”

Hours earlier, Roberti’s campaign announced that he has “curtailed public campaigning in the final days of his mother’s nearly six-year battle with cancer.” The three-way Democratic primary is Tuesday.

His mother’s melanoma has beeen an element of his campaign for the 5th District seat since it began: Roberti says he canceled plans to go law school in Chicago and moved back to Connecticut after his mother, Kathleen Lenihan, was diagnosed in 2006 with an advanced stage of cancer and originally given just months to live.

“Dan has been at her bedside since Thursday evening,” his manager, Erik Williams, said in an email. “However, his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination continues.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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