Ted Kennedy Dies of Brain Cancer at Age 77

Elected in 1992, President Bill Clinton appointed Kennedy's sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, ambassador to Ireland. And in 1994, Kennedy had the satisfaction of seeing his son Patrick elected to the House of Representatives from Rhode Island.

But tragedy returned that year.

In May 1994, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died of cancer. Kennedy had remained close to his sister-in-law, who once quit her job at a publisher's after it came out with an unflattering biography of Ted.

Kennedy's Battle With Cancer Lost

Kennedy had served as a surrogate father for many of his nephews and nieces, but he may have been closest to Jackie's children, Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr.

He was horrified when in July 1999, five years after Jackie's death, John Jr. and his bride of two years, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, along with her sister Lauren Bessette, were killed when the small plane John was piloting crashed off the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard.

Sen. Kennedy led the family during the harrowing wait for information as Coast Guard crews searched for the missing plane.

When the bodies were retrieved from the ocean, Kennedy and his two sons went to identify the remains. The senator's eulogy for his nephew who "had every gift but length of years" and "the wife who became his perfect soul mate" touched grief-stricken Americans.

It was an all-too-familiar sight for those who remember Ted Kennedy mourning the deaths of his brothers John and Robert, and helping the family bear up after the deaths of Robert's sons David and Michael.

For decades, it was Ted Kennedy who carried the burden and led the way as the patriarch of a family seen as America's answer to royalty.

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