Representing the state of Massachusts since his first election in 1962, Edward “Teddy” Kennedy has been a strong hold in US politics for decades. Some say he was one of the few to escape the “Kennedy Curse” being the only one of the four Kennedy brothers to die of a natural death. Two of his brothers, Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, of course, were killed in the famous assassinations and his third brother died while fighting in World War II. However, some have argued that his presidential aspirations did indeed see an unnatural death when his 1980 presidential campaign challenged then President Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primaries. His fast track to the White House was quickly derailed when news of the Chappaquiddick incident surfaced and became a major issue in the campaign.
To spite the failed presidential campaign, Kennedy went on to have a long lived and formidable political career being coined as the “Lion of the Senate”.
The Chappaquiddick Incident:
In the summer of 1969, a younger Ted Kennedy was involved in a fatal car crash when he drove his car off of the Dike Bridge after leaving a party. He escaped and swam to safety and fled the scene. The body of his female passenger was discovered the next day. At the time, Kennedy was only charged with fleeing the scene of an accident for which he was given a suspended sentence.
A further inquiry into the incident occurred in 1970, mostly in secret after petitions by Kennedy's lawyer, which raised several questions about what really happened and possible misconduct or criminal activity that may have been related to the accident. During his 1980 presidential campaign, the Chappaquiddick incident became front and center and many say it is what foiled his plans for the White House. Little mention was made of the incident or of the findings of the 1970 inquiry since then.
In May of 2008, Kennedy suffered from two major seizures and on the 20th of May, doctors made an official announcement that he had a malignant brain tumor. The news came as a shock and saddened many of Kennedy's family, friends, and colleagues. After more than a year of battling the disease, Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy died at his home in Massachusetts. His death came only two weeks after another Kennedy family loss with the death of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
He is survived by his wife Victoria and their three children along with his sister, Jean Kennedy Smith. His presence in the US political arena will be felt by members of both parties as they mourn the loss of this political icon.
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