WebMD Health News
Brunilda Nazario, MD
Aug. 26, 2009 -- Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy died late last night at
his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., of brain cancer at age 77.
Kennedy had a malignant glioma, a type of brain cancer. A glioma is a brain
tumor that begins in glial cells, which are cells that surround and support
In a statement posted on Kennedy's senate web site, the Kennedy family says,
"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. 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.
He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed
that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them
Condolences and remembrances have been posted by officials from both sides
of the political aisle.
In a statement posted on the White House's web site, President Barack Obama
says, "Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of
our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy."
"For five decades, virtually every piece of major legislation to advance the
civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his
name and resulted from his efforts," Obama says.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican Senator from Utah, issued a statement saying
that America had "lost a great elder statesman ... and I lost a treasured
friend." Hatch called Kennedy "larger than life" and said that "many had come
before, and many will come after, but Ted Kennedy's name will always be
remembered as someone who lived and breathed the United States Senate and the
work completed in its chamber."
Nancy Reagan, widow of former President Ronald Reagan, issued a statement
saying she was "terribly saddened" to hear of Kennedy's death. "Given our
political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I
have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common
ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years, Ted and I
found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and
dear friend. I will miss him."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican Senator of California and husband
of Kennedy's niece, Maria Shriver, is quoted by the Associated Press as saying
that he had "personally benefited and grown from his experience and advice, and
I know countless others have as well. Teddy taught us all that public service
isn't a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life and his legacy will live
Kennedy's doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital announced his brain
cancer diagnosis on May
Kennedy left Massachusetts General Hospital for his home on Cape Cod, Mass.,
In June 2008, Kennedy underwent successful brain surgery at Duke University
Medical Center and returned home to Massachusetts, where he got chemotherapy
and radiation therapy.
Kennedy, a U.S. senator since 1962, returned to the Senate on July 9, 2008,
for a vote on Medicare. "I wanted to be
here," Kennedy said in a statement. "I wasn't going to take the chance that my
vote could make a difference."
In 2009, Kennedy pressed for health care reform while continuing his brain
cancer treatment. In June 2009, Kennedy, who served as chairman of the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, released the "Affordable
Health Choices Act."
Kennedy was honored and gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention
in Denver in August 2008. In that speech, he said "the torch will be
passed to a new generation of Americans" in the 2008 presidential election.
"The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on."
SOURCES:Kennedy.senate.gov.WhiteHouse.gov.Associated Press.WebMD Health News: "Sen.
Ted Kennedy Has Brain Cancer."WebMD Health News: "Sen.
Ted Kennedy Leaves Hospital."WebMD Health News: "Sen.
Ted Kennedy Out of Brain Surgery."Associated Press.Statement by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, July 9, 2008.News release, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's Senate office.CNN: "Transcript: Edward Kennedy's DNC Speech."
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