by Free Britney at . Comments

U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy passed away last night. He was 77.

He died at his home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, Mass., his family said in a statement. Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor was diagnosed in May 2008.

“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family,” the family said in the statement. “He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it.”

The Massachusetts Democrat's life was marked by triumph and tragedy, and for his evolvution from a dubious choice for high office nearly 50 years ago into one of the most influential political figures in U.S. history.

The trajectory of his public life had many dramatic swings, spanning the civil rights movement in the U.S. to the election of the first black president.

He gained entry into the U.S. Senate only after a seat opened up when brother John was elected president. Elected to his own term in 1962, he never left.

Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009).

Barack Obama, when running for president, called him a “lion of the Senate” when he received his endorsement. The President said in a statement that he and wife Michelle Obama were “heartbroken” to learn of Kennedy’s death.

“An important chapter in our history has come to an end,” Obama said from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he is appropriately vacationing this week.

“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.”

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