BOSTON (Reuters) â€“ U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, a towering figure in the Democratic Party who took the helm of one of America's most fabled political families after two older brothers were assassinated, has died, his family said. He was 77.
"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.
One of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history -- a liberal standard-bearer who was also known as a consummate congressional dealmaker -- Kennedy had been battling brain cancer, which was diagnosed in May 2008.
"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," the family statement said.