BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Colleagues and rivals across the globe are remembering Ted Kennedy for his service, senate achievements, and stamp on history.
The long-time Massachusetts senator died Wednesday morning after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.
In a statement, his children and wife Victoria said,
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.
Kennedy was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, taking over the seat left vacant by brother and newly elected President Jack.
Over the four decades, the senator was at the helm of groundbreaking legislation, including civil rights, equal pay for women, and health care.
A liberal lion and respected rival.
President Obama spoke highly of the impact Kennedy has on his life and America.
"For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts," said President Obama in a statement.
Representative Mike McIntyre said that Senator Kennedy was a role model to him as he was growing up. He said Kennedy and his family were very appreciative to the state of North Carolina when he was treated at Duke.
McIntyre said everyone in congress respected the senator, even if you didn't see eye-to-eye with him.
"There's no doubt he's an icon of great respect in American politics, and no matter how people may differ on opinions of different issues, there's no doubt as he was called the lion of the Senate," said McIntyre. "He was still respected, respected for his commitment to public service."
Senator Richard Burr commended Kennedy on the way he would take a stand for something he believed in.
"While we did not always see eye to eye on the issues of the day, he was a devoted and ardent champion of the causes he believed in," said Burr.
Senator Kay Hagan commented on Kennedy's sense of compassion for his colleagues.
"He truly cared about fostering a sense of community and connecting with fellow Senators, regardless of any political disagreements they might have," said Hagan.
Kennedy was the ninth child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, the baby of the family who grew into the role of patriarch, following the deaths of his oldest brothers.