Senator Edward Kennedy passed away late Tuesday evening after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 77.
Kennedy, a towering figure in the Democratic Party, was one of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history.
"Edward M. Kennedy, the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply, died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port (Massachusetts)," the Kennedy family said in a statement early on Wednesday.
He had been battling brain cancer since he was diagnosed in May 2008.
Kennedy was a longtime advocate of healthcare reform, a key issue of Barack Obama's presidency. Obama said on Wednesday that he was heartbroken when he heard the news of his death.
"I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom," said Obama.
Known as "Teddy," he was the brother of President John Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. It was certainly a sad day in politics yesterday. Ted was loved by many and will not be forgotten easily. Rest in Peace!