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A torch extinguished: Ted Kennedy dead at 77

 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. 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 March 15, 1967 file photo, Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, and Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., sit together during a session of the Senat...
 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 -- 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...
 Visitors stop at the grave of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Sen. Edward Kenn...
 President Barack Obama pauses as he reads a statement about the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, while on vacation on...
 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...
 President Barack Obama walks from the podium after reading a statement about the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, whi...
 With the Capitol in Washington in the background, a U.S. Park Service employee lowers flags to half-staff at the Washington Monument, Wednesday, Aug....
 A flag at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, is at half-staff in remembrance of Sen.  Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Kennedy, the la...
 The empty office of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Kennedy, the last surviving brother...

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. 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 March 15, 1967 file photo, Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, and Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., sit together during a session of the Senat...

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 ...

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

Visitors stop at the grave of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Sen. Edward Kenn...

APTOPIX Obama Kennedy

President Barack Obama pauses as he reads a statement about the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, while on vacation on...

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...

Obama Kennedy

President Barack Obama walks from the podium after reading a statement about the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, whi...

Obit Ted Kennedy

With the Capitol in Washington in the background, a U.S. Park Service employee lowers flags to half-staff at the Washington Monument, Wednesday, Aug....

Obit Ted Kennedy

A flag at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, is at half-staff in remembrance of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Kennedy, the la...

Obit Ted Kennedy

The empty office of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Kennedy, the last surviving brother...

President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy at Sen. Edward Kennedy's funeral, a White House source says, memorializing the last political elder of the family that has fascinated Americans with its ambition, style, idealism and tragedies for decades.
Kennedy died late Tuesday night at his Cape Cod home at age 77.
The longtime senator was an ardent supporter of Obama, giving the first black U.S. president a tremendous boost in his campaign for the presidency last year.
The funeral will take place Saturday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica _ commonly known as the Mission Church _ in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. Kennedy will be buried the same day at Arlington National Cemetery near his slain brothers.
The White House official spoke with The Associated Press on Martha's Vineyard, the island resort south of Boston where the first family is vacationing. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Kennedy family had not yet made an announcement.
Kennedy was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in May 2008 and underwent surgery and a grueling regimen of radiation and chemotherapy.
A stalwart of the Democratic Party, it was Kennedy who jumped into a fractious party presidential nomination fight last year to side with Obama over early favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton. He lit up the Democratic base with his comparisons between young contender Obama and his late brother, former President John F. Kennedy.
"For his family, he was a guardian," Obama said Wednesday. "For America, he was a defender of a dream."
The Massachusetts senator's extended political family of fellow Democrats and rival Republicans, steeled for his death yet still jarred by it, joined in mourning. Kennedy was the Senate's dominant liberal and one of its legendary dealmakers.
He was first elected to the Senate in 1962, taking the seat that his brother John had occupied before winning the White House, and he served longer than all but two senators in history.
A black shroud and vase of white roses sat Wednesday on his Senate desk, which John Kennedy had used before him. So dropped the final curtain on "Camelot," the already distant era of the Kennedy dynasty.
Kennedy will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Thursday and Friday. Obama has ordered flags flown at half-staff on all federal buildings.
Also buried at Arlington, the military cemetery overlooking the capital city, are John and Robert Kennedy; John Kennedy's wife, Jacqueline; their baby son, Patrick, who died after two days, and their stillborn child.
To Americans and much of the world, Kennedy was best known as the last surviving son of the nation's most glamorous political family. Of nine children born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy, Jean Kennedy Smith is the only one alive.
He was the last of the famous Kennedy brothers: John the assassinated president, Robert the assassinated senator and presidential candidate, Joseph the aviator killed in action in World War II when Ted was 12.
He lost his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, less than two weeks ago, saw the bright promise of nephew John F. Kennedy Jr. end in a plane crash in 1999 and struggled with excesses of his own until he became a settled elder statesman.
Kennedy's hopes of reaching the White House were dashed in part by his behavior in the scandal 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, and swam to safety while companion Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in the car. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident; a judge said his actions probably contributed to the young woman's death. He received a suspended sentence and probation.
In his later years, Kennedy cut a barrel-chested profile, with a swath of white hair, a booming voice and a thick, widely imitated Boston accent. He coupled fist-pumping floor speeches with charm and formidable negotiating skills.
"I think that once he realized he was never going to be president _ that that was not the legacy he had to follow _ he really worked at becoming the best senator he possibly could," Leahy said. "And he did."
In the Senate, Republicans respected and often befriended him. But his essential liberalism marked him as a lightning rod, too. He proved a handy fundraising foil motivating Republicans to open their wallets to fight anything he stood for.
His illness had sidelined him from an intense debate on health care that would have found him at the core any other time. Politicians were calculating the consequences for Obama's push for expanded health coverage. For several months, at least, Kennedy's death will deprive the Democrats of a vote that could prove crucial for his signature cause of health reform.
Conservative Sen. Orrin Hatch, his improbable Republican partner on children's health insurance, volunteerism, student aid and more, said the Senate probably would have had a health care deal by now if Kennedy had been healthy enough to work with him.
"Iconic, larger than life," Hatch said of his friend. "We were like fighting brothers."
Kennedy's legislative legacy includes health insurance for children of the working poor, the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, family leave and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was also key to passage of the No Child Left Behind Education law and a Medicare drug benefit for the elderly, both championed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Kennedy's survivors include a daughter, Kara Kennedy Allen; two sons, Edward Jr. and Patrick, a congressman from Rhode Island, and two stepchildren, Caroline and Curran Raclin.
Edward Jr. lost a leg to bone cancer in 1973 at age 12. Kara had a cancerous tumor removed from her lung in 2003. In 1988, Patrick had a non-cancerous tumor pressing on his spine removed. He also has struggled with depression and addiction and recently spent time at an addiction treatment center.
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Woodward reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Calvin Woodward, Glen Johnson and Laurie Kellman in Washington, Philip Elliott in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, and Bob Salsberg contributed to this report.
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On the Net:
http://kennedy.senate.gov


Updated : 2021-08-04 04:12 GMT+08:00