After a marathon finish to a historic US presidential campaign that has been packed with dramatic moments both White House contenders declared themselves content to await the verdict of the American people.

Making one of his final election appearances alongside Bruce Springsteen at a rally in Ohio, Barack Obama said he felt "peaceful". For the Illinois senator, who has travelled 60,000 miles in the last five months, there was personal sadness too, with news of the death of his beloved grandmother, Madelyn Dunham.

His voice breaking with emotion, Mr Obama told a crowd of supporters: "She died peacefully in her sleep with my sister at her side and so there's great joy as well as tears.

"She was the cornerstone of our family, a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength and humility," added the politician, who broke off campaigning to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii two weeks ago.

As the Democratic hopeful flew to his home city of Chicago to await the results, his Republican rival John McCain, meanwhile, was completing an 18-hour whirlwind tour of seven make-or-break states.

Playing up his underdog status the former Vietnam war veteran told a Florida rally: "The pundits may not know it but the Mac is back! We're going to win."

Photo: ©
The end of Mr Obama's campaign has been marked by tears as well as hope, after the senator's beloved grandma - the woman he revered as "the cornerstone of our family" - passed away Photo: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
His rival John McCain played up his underdog status, telling the public: "The pundits may not know it but the Mac is back. We are going to win" Photo: © Getty Images
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