LONDON - World leaders have paid tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, who died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer at the age of 77.
Kennedy, nicknamed “Ted,” was the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy and New York Senator Robert Kennedy, who was gunned down while seeking the White House in 1968.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “Senator Edward Kennedy will be mourned not just in America but in every continent. He is admired around the world as the Senator of Senators. He led the world in championing children’s education and health care, and believed that every single child should have the chance to realise their potential to the full.”
Former first lady of United States Nancy Regan said: “Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him.” Rooted in his deep patriotism, his abiding faith, and his deep concern for the least among us, no one has done more than Senator Kennedy to educate our children, care for our seniors, and ensure equality for all Americans, The Telegraph quoted Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the House, as saying.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is also husband of Kennedy’s niece Maria Shriver and a Republican, said: “He was known to the world as the Lion of the Senate, a champion of social justice and a political icon …. Teddy inspired our country through his dedication to health care reform, his commitment to social justice, and his devotion to a life of public service.”
Harry Reid, US senate majority leader said: “It was the thrill of my lifetime to work with Ted Kennedy. He was a friend, the model of public service and an American icon. As we mourn his loss, we rededicate ourselves to the causes for which he so dutifully dedicated his life.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said: “Ted Kennedy was a great American, a great Democrat and also a great friend of Australia. He has made an extraordinary contribution to American politics, an extraordinary contribution to America’s role in the world.”
Tony Blair, former British prime minister - “Senator Kennedy was a figure who inspired admiration, respect and devotion, not just in America but around the world. He was a true public servant committed to the values of fairness, justice and opportunity.”
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “(Senator) Kennedy has been a friend for 30 years, a great American patriot, a great champion of a better world, a great friend of Israel. He will be sorely missed.”
Kennedy, who was known as the “Lion of the Senate,” played major roles in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, and was an outspoken liberal standard-bearer during a conservative-dominated era from the 1980s to the early 2000s.
Kennedy recently urged Massachusetts officials to change a law to allow for an immediate temporary replacement should a vacancy occur for one of his state’s two Senate seats. Under a 2004 Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant. The winner of the election would serve the remainder of a senator’s unexpired term. (ANI)