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Emily Couric

Virginia State Sen. Emily Couric, sister of NBC’s “Today” show co-host Katie Couric, died Thursday of pancreatic cancer. She was 54.

Couric dropped out of the race for lieutenant governor after being diagnosed with cancer in July 2000. She stayed in the Senate and took on the co-chairmanship of the Virginia Democratic Party.

Born in Atlanta, Emily Couric was the eldest of four children. She graduated from Smith College and worked as a journalist, writing for the Legal Times in Washington, and also wrote books about the legal profession.

During her six years in the Senate, Couric successfully fought to make Virginia the first state to require insurance companies to pay for colon cancer screenings. Katie Couric’s husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer in 1998.

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