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Ted Kennedy, who has probably sucker punched the Grim Reaper more times than John McCain has houses, is dead.
"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.
"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 family added.
His death marked the twilight of a political dynasty and dealt a blow to Democrats as they seek to answer President Barack Obama's call for an overhaul of the healthcare system. Kennedy had made healthcare reform his signature cause.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said in a statement the Kennedy family and Senate "have together lost our patriarch."