U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy dies at 77

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Sen. Edward Kennedy, the youngest brother of the famous U.S. political dynasty, has died aged 77. His death comes just two weeks after his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, passed away.

One of the most influential lawmakers in history, Kennedy died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. A malignant brain tumor was diagnosed last year after having a seizure and doctors operated on it the following month.

“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 family said in a statement. “He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it.”

Kennedy had represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate since 1962. He was one of only six senators to serve 40 or more years in the legislature. During his career, he was a strong champion of liberal causes, including civil rights, education and immigration, in addition to health care.

President Barack Obama said that he and his wife were “heartbroken” by the news of Kennedy’s death. “I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague,” the president said in a statement. “I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I’ve profited as president from his encouragement and wisdom.”