Early this morning, the Kennedy family released the following announcement
“Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in HyannisPort. 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.
We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
The youngest of the four Kennedy brothers, his youth was filled with much of the wildness the Kennedys were noted for, with frequent clashes with police in both Palm Beach and Hyannis. The change in his public demeanour came after the infamous Chappaquiddick incident in which a junior staffer, Mary Jo Kopechne died.
Her death was the death knell of his ambitions to run for President although he did start a campaign in the 1980 primaries, running against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter. Problems with drinking and subsequent publicity also kept any presidential ambitions in check. Many of the liberal policies he advocated may have been suppressed as his opponents used Ted’s personal failings to attack the ideals he promoted. It was only after he married Victoria Anne Reggie in 1992, that he managed to stabilise his behaviour outside of Congress. From that point on, Ted began to create the image of the ‘liberal lion’ that we know today, working with political opponents during the Republican-controlled years to get some of his favoured ideas into legislation.