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Ted Kennedy dead at 77; the family statement

August 25, 2009 | 10:48 pm

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Edward M. Kennedy, the third longest-serving senator in United States history, succumbed to brain cancer at his Hyannis Port, Mass., home late Tuesday night.

The liberal Democrat, who was elected to his brother John's unexpired U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts in 1962, was 77 years old and had been battling a malignant brain tumor since its discovery after a seizure in May 2008.

The surviving brother of three who served in the Senate had appeared in public only rarely in recent months and had not been to the Capitol since April, missing some crucial votes as well as President Obama's awarding him the Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Observers figured the end was near when Kennedy did not attend the recent funeral of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died at 88 on Aug. 11. Kennedy's memoir is set for publication next month.

Early this morning the family issued the following five-sentence statement:

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.

Funeral plans were pending.

Feel free to share your memories and thoughts on Kennedy's life and work below.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Associated Press
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