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Kennedy family patriarch and avid Barack Obama supporter, Edward “Ted” Kennedy lost his battle to brain cancer late Tuesday night. The 77-year old was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his brain last year but vowed to be present in January to witness Obama’s plans for healthcare reform. His family released a statement saying, “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.”

“Ted” Kennedy was left to uphold the Kennedy name in politics after his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. His eldest brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed during World War II. Kennedy served in the senate for 46 years, and called health care reform “the cause of his life.” President Obama awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in early August which his daughter, Kara Kennedy, accepted on his behalf. The senator’s passing comes just weeks after the death of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died August 11 at the age of 88.

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