More than a year after being diagnosed with brain cancer, Senator Edward “Teddy” Kennedy has passed away.
CNN.com reports that Ted died late Tuesday, August 25, in his Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, home at the age of 77 years old.
The senator was the head of the Kennedy family, which is arguably the best-known family in U.S. politics. Although he passionately represented the Democratic party in the senate, he was loved and respected by his peers on both sides of the aisle.
In May 2008 Ted had a seizure and was soon diagnosed with brain cancer after doctors found a malignant tumor on the left side of his brain. Still, Ted never let that keep him from service. He insisted on casting his ballot in a senate vote just a few weeks after surgeons removed most of the tumor from his brain.
Later he made the decision to speak at the Democratic National Convention to offer his support to now-President Barack Obama in his bid for the White House. The appearance was a surprise for many who had not expected the Massachusetts politician to show up, considering his condition at the time. Ted’s death came exactly one year after he made that speech.
“Even though we have known this day was coming for some time now, we awaited it with no small amount of dread,” President Obama said in a statement released today. ”Over the past several years, I’ve had the honor to call Teddy a colleague, a counselor, and a friend. “
Edward served in the U.S. for more than 40 years. After being elected to eight full terms in office, his ideals have become part of countless laws.
“His extraordinary life on this earth has come to an end. And the extraordinary good that he did lives on. For his family, he was a guardian. For America, he was the defender of a dream,” said the president. “The outpouring of love, gratitude, and fond memories to which we’ve all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.“
In recent weeks, Edward had been pushing state officials to allow an immediate replacement to take over if a vacancy in one of their senate seats occurred. Under current law, Massachusetts must hold a special election to find a fill-in for him.
One U.S. defense official told CNN that Ted will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery near the graves of his brothers, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
– Sonya Eskridge