Barack Obama’s 85-year-old grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham broke her hip recently and is “gravely ill,” her brother told the Associated Press Tuesday.
Dunham, who goes by the nickname Toot, “has not been well for a long time. Then she fell and broke her hip fairly recently,” Charles Payne said in a telephone interview from his home in Chicago. “She’s unhappy with the condition that she’s in, I can tell you that.”
Obama said he will suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday and Friday to visit his grandmother, and Payne, Obama’s great-uncle, is planning to fly there for her 86th birthday, which is Sunday.
Payne said his sister was hospitalized briefly but is back home in her Honolulu apartment, where Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, takes care of her. Payne, 83, said he spoke to his sister briefly on Monday.
“We had a short and as upbeat as possible conversation,” said Payne, a retired university library administrator. “She hated the hospital.”
Payne declined to speculate on whether his sister had the strength to see her grandson through the election on Nov. 4.
“I think, of course, it’s been terribly important to her,” he said. “And she would like nothing better than to see that.”