Senator Ted Kennedy Passes Away At Age 77
U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, brother of former President John F. Kennedy, has lost his battle with brain cancer.
The 77 year old Senator comes from a family with a long and well established record of public service. At the time of his death, he was the second most senior member of the Senate, after Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and the third-longest-serving senator of all time.
Kennedy was also the father of sitting Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island.
"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," a family statement said. "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."
Kennedy's life was plagued by a string of personal tragedies, including the assassination of brothers John and Robert. In the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident, the car Kennedy was driving ran off a bridge and plunged into water, resulting in the death of passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence; however, doubts about his account of the accident significantly damaged his chances of ever becoming President of the United States.
When Kennedy did finally run for President in 1980, he waged a losing battle for the Democratic nomination against sitting President Jimmy Carter. Famously stating at the end of his campaign: "For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
Kennedy's older sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died earlier this month at the age of 88.