Edward M. Kennedy, the brother of president John F. Kennedy and senator from Massachusetts for 47 years, died last night. His family, which also recently lost his sister, Eunice Shriver, released the following statement:
Edward M. Kennedy - the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply - died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. 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 without him.
"For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts," President Obama said this morning. "An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time."