Senator Ted Kennedy- Lion of the Senate, patriarch of the Democratic Party, and the last son of the greatest generation of the greatest political family in American history - has died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachuseets at 77 years of age following a long battle with brain cancer.
Kennedy was the youngest child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, a full seventeen years the junior of the eldest of the Kennedy children, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (who died in a plane crash during World War II), and fifteen years younger than his famous elder brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
After finishing at Harvard and graduating cum laude at the University of Virginia School of Law, he made his first foray into politics when John was elected president in 1960. Just 29 years old at the time, Kennedy waited until he could constitutionally qualify for election to the Senate, and ran two years later. He took office with a wide margin, and would repeat his success eight more times for a total of just under 47 years. He was the second most senior member of the Senate, and the third longest serving Senator of all time.
Kennedy was just 31 when his brother John was assassinated in 1963. He'd experience even greater pain five years later when his other brother, Robert- with whom Ted had been incredibly close- was shot in 1968. He became a surrogate father to all 13 of his brothers' children following their deaths.
Kennedy sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1980, setting up a contentious battle between he and the incumbent Democratic president, Jimmy Carter. But reports of past personal problems and a disorganized campaign prevailed, culminating in Kennedy's concession speech that today is regarded as among the finest in American political history. "For all those whose cares have been our concern," he said, "the work goes one, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
Kennedy spent the next 29 years as one of the most influential men in the Senate, championing such causes as immigration reform, health care reform, and workers' rights. In 2008, he waded into a nasty battle for the Democratic nomination and threw his support behind Senator Barack Obama, largely seen as the turning point in his contest against then-Senator Hillary Clinton.
He was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 2008. He passed away on August 25, 2009 just before midnight.