Alexa

Sen. Edward Kennedy, 77, dies after cancer battle

 FIELE --  In a July 21, 1999 file photo Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., front, stands with his son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI, as they motor out to the...
 FIEL -- In a Nov. 22, 1995 file photo  Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert Kennedy, kneels with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., son of Sen. Edward K...
 FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2009 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. arrives at the home of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver in Hyannis Po...
 FILE - In this Aug. 12, 1980 file photo, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy responds to the applause at the presidential Democratic National Convention in New Yo...
 FILE - In this June 8, 1968 file photo, Ethel Kennedy is escorted by her brother-in-law, Sen. Edward Kennedy, to their pew in St. Patrick's Cathedral...
 FILE -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left, stands with his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy in front of houses inside the Kennedy compound in Hyannis...
 FILE - In this Jan. 9 1963 file photo, Edward M. Kennedy takes the oath of office as a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts in a re-enactment of the...
 FILE - In this June 24, 1985 file photo, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., talks with President Ronald Reagan, left, as they look over an American E...
 FILE - In this Oct. 28, 1965 file photo, Edward M. Kennedy arrives with his wife Joan in Vietnam. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, has died a...
 FILE - In this May 21, 2008 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, guides a sailboat up to a pier in Hyannisport, Mass., while sailing with ...
 FILE -- In a June 4, 1983 file photo John F. Kennedy Jr., second from left, listens to his uncle Ted Kennedy, right, with his mother Jacqueline Kenne...
 FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2001 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., talks to his Boston office from Capitol Hill in Washington following reports o...
 FILE - This undated file photo shows the Kennedy brothers, John F. Kennedy, left, Robert Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy, right, in Hyannis Port, Mass. Ted ...
 FILE -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, left, takes a stroll with his father former ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy on an open porch at New England Baptist Hosp...
 FILE -- In a Sept. 27, 2004 file photo Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, delivers his speech about the effect of the war in Iraq on America's security at ...
 The news media sets up outside the Kennedy compound, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, in Hyannisport, Mass. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the las...
 FILE -- In a May 20, 2008 file photo provided by Sen. Kennedy's office, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., center, is surrounded by family members, lef...
 FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2009 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, stands with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass...
 FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, stands with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FIELE -- In a July 21, 1999 file photo Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., front, stands with his son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI, as they motor out to the...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FIEL -- In a Nov. 22, 1995 file photo Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert Kennedy, kneels with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., son of Sen. Edward K...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2009 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. arrives at the home of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver in Hyannis Po...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 1980 file photo, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy responds to the applause at the presidential Democratic National Convention in New Yo...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this June 8, 1968 file photo, Ethel Kennedy is escorted by her brother-in-law, Sen. Edward Kennedy, to their pew in St. Patrick's Cathedral...

ObitTed Kennedy

FILE -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left, stands with his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy in front of houses inside the Kennedy compound in Hyannis...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Jan. 9 1963 file photo, Edward M. Kennedy takes the oath of office as a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts in a re-enactment of the...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this June 24, 1985 file photo, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., talks with President Ronald Reagan, left, as they look over an American E...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 1965 file photo, Edward M. Kennedy arrives with his wife Joan in Vietnam. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, has died a...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this May 21, 2008 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, guides a sailboat up to a pier in Hyannisport, Mass., while sailing with ...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE -- In a June 4, 1983 file photo John F. Kennedy Jr., second from left, listens to his uncle Ted Kennedy, right, with his mother Jacqueline Kenne...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2001 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., talks to his Boston office from Capitol Hill in Washington following reports o...

APTOPIX Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - This undated file photo shows the Kennedy brothers, John F. Kennedy, left, Robert Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy, right, in Hyannis Port, Mass. Ted ...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, left, takes a stroll with his father former ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy on an open porch at New England Baptist Hosp...

APTOPIX OBIT Ted Kennedy

FILE -- In a Sept. 27, 2004 file photo Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, delivers his speech about the effect of the war in Iraq on America's security at ...

Obit Ted Kennedy

The news media sets up outside the Kennedy compound, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, in Hyannisport, Mass. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the las...

APTOPIX Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE -- In a May 20, 2008 file photo provided by Sen. Kennedy's office, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., center, is surrounded by family members, lef...

Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2009 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, stands with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass...

CORRECTION Obit Ted Kennedy

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, stands with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass...

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in an enduring political dynasty and one of the most influential senators in history, died Tuesday night at his home on Cape Cod after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.
In nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, served alongside 10 presidents _ his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy among them _ compiling an impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, immigration and more.
His only run for the White House ended in defeat in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter turned back his challenge for the party's nomination. More than a quarter-century later, he handed then-Sen. Barack Obama an endorsement at a critical point in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, explicitly likening the young contender to President Kennedy.
To the American public, Kennedy was best known as the last surviving son of America's most glamorous political family, father figure and, memorably, eulogist of an Irish-American clan plagued again and again by tragedy. But his career was forever marred by an accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969, when a car he was driving plunged off a bridge, killing a young woman.
Kennedy's death triggered an outpouring of superlatives from Democrats and Republicans as well as foreign leaders.
"An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time," Obama said in a written statement.
"For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts," said Obama, vacationing at Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast.
Kennedy's family announced his death in a brief statement released early Wednesday.
"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," it 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, fairness and opportunity for all."
A few hours later, two vans left the famed Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port in pre-dawn darkness. Both bore hearse license plates _ with the word "hearse" blacked out.
Several hundred miles away, flags few at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol.
There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements. Two of Kennedy's brothers, John and Robert, are buried at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington.
In his later years, Kennedy cut a barrel-chested figure, with a swath of white hair, a booming voice and a thick, widely imitated Boston accent. He coupled fist-pumping floor speeches with his well-honed Irish charm and formidable negotiating skills. He was both a passionate liberal and a clear-eyed pragmatist, willing to reach across the aisle.
He was first elected to the Senate in 1962, taking the seat that his brother John had occupied before winning the White House, and served longer than all but two senators in history.
His own hopes of reaching the White House were damaged _ perhaps doomed _ in 1969 by the scandal that came to be known as Chappaquiddick.
On the night of July 18, 1969, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge and into a pond on Chappaquiddick Island, on Martha's Vineyard. Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old worker with Robert Kennedy's campaign, was found dead in the submerged car's back seat 10 hours later.
Kennedy, then 37, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended sentence and a year's probation. A judge eventually determined there was "probable cause to believe that Kennedy operated his motor vehicle negligently ... and that such operation appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne."
He sought the White House more than a decade later, lost the Democratic nomination to President Jimmy Carter, and bowed out with a stirring valedictory that echoed across the decades: "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 was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in May 2008 and underwent surgery and a grueling regimen of radiation and chemotherapy.
He made a surprise return to the Capitol last summer to cast the decisive vote for the Democrats on Medicare. He made sure he was there again last January to see his former Senate colleague Barack Obama sworn in as the nation's first black president, but suffered a seizure at a celebratory luncheon afterward.
He also made a surprise and forceful appearance at last summer's Democratic National Convention, where he spoke of his own illness and said health care was the cause of his life. His death occurred precisely one year later, almost to the hour.
He was away from the Senate for much of this year, leaving Republicans and Democrats to speculate about the impact what his absence meant for the fate of Obama's health care proposals.
Under state law, Kennedy's successor will be chosen by special election. In his last known public act, the senator urged Massachusetts state legislators to give Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick the power to name an interim replacement. But that appears unlikely, leaving Democrats in Washington with one less vote for at least the next several months as they struggle to pass Obama's health care legislation.
His death came less than two weeks after that of his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver on Aug. 11. Kennedy was not present for the funeral, an indication of the precariousness of his own health. Of nine children born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy, only one _ Jean Kennedy Smith, survives.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Kennedy's son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who represents Rhode Island, said his father had defied the predictions of doctors by surviving more than a year with his fight against brain cancer.
The younger Kennedy said that gave family members a surprise blessing, as they were able to spend more time with the senator and to tell him how much he had meant to their lives.
Kennedy arrived at his place in the Senate after a string of family tragedies. He was the only one of the four Kennedy brothers to die of natural causes.
Kennedy's eldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a plane crash in World War II. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles as he campaigned for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination.
Years later, in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. was killed in a plane crash at age 38. His wife died with him.
It fell to Ted Kennedy to deliver the eulogies, to comfort his brothers' widows, to mentor fatherless nieces and nephews. It was Ted Kennedy who walked JFK's daughter, Caroline, down the aisle at her wedding.
Politically, his concession speech at the Democratic convention in 1980 turned out to be a defining moment. At 48, he seemed liberated from the towering expectations and high hopes invested in him after the death of his brothers, and he plunged into his work in the Senate. In his later years, after he had divorced and remarried, he came to be regarded as a statesman on Capitol Hill, with a growing reputation as an effective, hard-working lawmaker.
His legislative achievements included bills to provide health insurance for children of the working poor, the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, Meals on Wheels for the elderly, abortion clinic access, family leave, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
He was also a key negotiator on legislation creating a Medicare prescription drug benefit for senior citizens, was a driving force for peace in Ireland and a persistent critic of the war in Iraq.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada issued a statement that said,


Updated : 2021-04-16 10:47 GMT+08:00