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Senator Edward Moore 'Ted' Kennedy, 77, was one of the senior-most members of the US Senate; serving since 1962. At his death he was sitting in his eighth full term. Known as the Liberal Lion, this popular politician worked tirelessly at carrying on his brothers John and Robert's legacies, always putting his heft behind liberal issues.
He grew up in New York, attended Harvard and the University of Virginia, served in the US army and aspired for a bright political career, with hopes of attaining the American presidency. But his suspicious connection with the accidental drowning, in 1969, of Mary Jo Kopechne, an aide, who was travelling in his vehicle after a party, put paid to that.
Not only did he have to come to grips with the sudden deaths/assassinations of four of his brothers and sisters, he dealt with various damaging family scandals and also coped with the death of JFK's son (with whom he was close) in a plane crash, his son's fight with bone cancer, only to learn belatedly of his own brain cancer.
But Kennedy soldiered on and announced courageously, 'I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.'
And he was.
He lost the battle with cancer eight months later.