Bernie Sanders’ Daughter-in-Law Dies at 46 After Cancer Diagnosis

By The Associated Press

The daughter-in-law of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has died, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Rainè Riggs was 46.

The Lee & Martin Funeral Home in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, says Riggs died Saturday, the day Sanders returned to Vermont after suffering a heart attack. Her obituary said she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer.

Riggs, a neuropsychologist, was married to Levi Sanders, who ran unsuccessfully for a New Hampshire congressional seat in 2018. Riggs’ obituary says she met Levi Sanders while the two worked at an emergency food shelter in Vermont.

“Rainè also spent time volunteering with pediatric hospice. Rainè was the owner of Riggs Geriatric Psychology in Windsor, Vt. She also volunteered at ground zero after the tragedies of 9/11, providing much-needed counseling for survivors, first responders and the families of those who lost their lives,” the obituary read.

The obituary said Riggs was the director of behavioral medicine at Dartmouth Medical School for several years, and she started the Palliative Care Department for Dartmouth Medical Center. She also owned Riggs Geriatric Psychology in Windsor, Vermont.

bernie sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) departs Burlington International Airport and head home after being treated for a heart attack, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Steven Senne/AP Photo)

Riggs and Levi Sanders had three children.

“Even with all of the achievements in education, Rainè always said her crowning achievement in life was the day she became a mother,” read her obituary.

“Rainè became ill three weeks ago. The hospitals were stumped. We brought her home last Sunday to UPMC, where she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. She died two days later.

“Her last words were to tell her children how much she loved them and she was so sorry that she got sick. Her last moment was spent with her No. 1 cheerleader, her mother, holding her hand and whispering in her ear how much she loved her.

“To honor Rainè’s wishes, there will be no public visitation and services will be held privately.”

NTD staff contributed to this report.