Rubio puts his Senate campaign on pause after his father passes away

Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio (Fla.) put his campaign temporarily on hold after his father passed away Saturday night.

The Miami Herald reported that Mario Rubio, 83, who suffered from emphysema and lung cancer, died surrounded by his wife of 61 years and four children.

"He was by far the most unselfish person I have ever known, always focused on others, and never on his own well being,'' Rubio said in a statement. "He was especially determined to provide his children opportunities he himself never had.''

Rubio faces Gov. Charlie Crist (I) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in the November election to fill the seat held by Sen. George LeMieux (R), who was appointed by Crist last year to fill retiring Sen. Mel Martinez's (R) seat.

On Friday, Rubio had pulled out of a planned Sunday debate on "Meet the Press," citing the need to be with his ailing father. Crist had earlier declined NBC's invitation to participate in the debate.