Sen. Ted Kennedy died shortly before midnight Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 77.
The man known as the "liberal lion of the Senate" had fought a more than year-long battle with brain cancer, and according to his son had lived longer with the disease than his doctors expected him to.
"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 Kennedy family said in a statement. "He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it."
It's a strange reaction to the passing of a person I don't really know, like the passing of a favorite uncle. I've always admired Senator Kennedy. I saw him as a tireless public servant, working hard in many key legislative battles all the way back to the Civil Rights Act. He was always fighting the good fight on such issues as equal rights, education and, yes, health care legislation.