Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy dies at 77

U.S Senator Ted Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts died just before midnight on August 25, 2009 at his home in Hyannis Port at age 77.

Ted Kennedy 1962

Ted Kennedy 1962

Ted Kennedy was the brother of former American President John F. Kennedy and former Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He had been a senator since 1962.

On May 20, 2008, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and was released from Massachusetts General Hospital on May 21.

Kennedy is survived by his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy, five children, a sister, Jean Kennedy Smith and many nieces and nephews.

Kennedy was the second most senior member of the Senate, after President pro tempore Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and the third-longest serving senator of all time, behind Byrd and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

Due to Kennedy’s death, the Democratic Party has lost their 60 seat supermajority in the US Senate. His successor will be chosen in a special election within 160 days. Prior to his death, Kennedy appealed to Democratic Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick and the legislature to change state law regarding U.S. Senate vacancies, so that a temporary senator could be appointed pending a special election and a vote in favor of a health care bill would not potentially be lost. This law had been changed in 2004 to prevent then Republican Governor Mitt Romney from appointing a replacement for then Democratic Senator John Kerry, had he won the presidency.

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