77-year-old loses yearlong battle with brain cancer at Hyannis Port home
NBC News and news services
updated 8 minutes ago
HYANNIS PORT, Massachusetts – Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, has died after battling a brain tumor. He was 77.
Kennedy’s family announced his death in a brief statement released early Wednesday.
For nearly a half-century in the Senate, Kennedy was a dominant voice on health care, civil rights, war and peace, and more. To the American public, though, he was best known as the last surviving brother of a storied political family.
Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962, when his brother John was president, and served longer than all but two senators in history.
Over the decades, Kennedy put his imprint on every major piece of social legislation to clear the Congress.
‘Center of our family’ lost
His family’s statement said:
“Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port.
We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.
We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.
He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
Nancy Reagan ‘terribly saddened’
Former President Ronald Reagan’s wife Nancy reacted to the news of Kennedy’s death, saying:
“I was terribly saddened to hear of the death of Ted Kennedy tonight.
Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another.
In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him.
My heart goes out to Vicki and the entire Kennedy family.”
Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.
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