Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward Kennedy aka Ted Kennedy, Dies at 77

Edward Kennedy akaTed Kennedy, Dies at 77
Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most powerful and influential senators in American history and one of three brothers whose political triumphs and personal tragedies captivated the nation for decades, died at 77.Known as the “liberal lion of the Senate,” Kennedy championed health care reform, working wages and equal rights in his storied career. In August, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — by President Obama. His daughter, Kara Kennedy, accepted the award on his behalf.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, known as Ted or Teddy, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008 and underwent a successful brain surgery soon after that. But his health continued to deteriorate, and Kennedy suffered a seizure while attending the luncheon following President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, was the last survivor of a privileged and charismatic family that in the 1960s dominated American politics and attracted worldwide attention. As heir through tragedy to his accomplished older brothers -- President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), both of whom were assassinated -- Edward Kennedy became the patriarch of his clan and a towering figure in the U.S. Senate to a degree neither of his siblings had been.

Kennedy served in the Senate through five of the most dramatic decades of the nation's history. He became a lawmaker whose legislative accomplishments, political authority and gift for friendship across the political spectrum invited favorable comparisons to Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and a handful of other leviathans of the country's most elite political body. But he was also beset by personal frailties and family misfortunes that were the stuff of tabloid headlines.


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