Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the "liberal lion" of the United States Senate and haunted bearer of the Camelot torch after two of his brothers fell to assassins' bullets, has died at his home last night in Hyannis Port at the famous Kennedy Compound, after battling a brain tumor. He was 77.
For nearly a half-century in the Senate, Kennedy was a steadfast champion of the working class and the poor, a powerful voice on health care, civil rights, and war and peace. To the American public, though, he was best known as the last surviving son of America's most glamorous political family, the eulogist of a clan shattered again and again by tragedy.
Sen. Kennedy was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1965 where he assumed the same seat as his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
His 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," the 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, fairness and opportunity for all."
No matter what one's political view, the country has lossed a "political giant" who took upon himself to speak for those who had no voice and lead the charge on domestic social issues such as education, health care, welfare, etc. He was the third longest serving Senator in the history of Congress.
The real question will be who will be selected to replace him?