Beau Biden, the eldest son of US Vice-President Joe Biden, has died at the age of 46.

Beau was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago and was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Washington earlier this month.

This is not the first loss the Biden family has suffered. In 1972, aged just 29, Joe Biden lost his wife and young daughter in a car crash. His two sons were also hospitalised and Biden was sworn into the Senate while at Beau's bedside.

Biden spoke candidly about his grief in a speech at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp in Arlington three years ago, telling them "parents never expect to have a child pre-decease them. Never". His words then are all the more poignant today.

On December 18 I was down in Washington hiring my staff and I got a phonecall saying that my family had been in an accident... My wife was dead, my daughter was dead and I wasn't sure how my sons were going to make it. They were Christmas shopping, and a tractor trailer broadsided them in one instant.

But he said despite the grief, there "really is hope. The ache in the back never goes away, but it gets controllable".

There will come a day, I promise you, and you parents as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen.

You can watch the full speech below:

More: Beau Biden, son of US Vice President Joe Biden, dies aged 46

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