His famous family knew him as the last brother, the cherished uncle and the patriarch. His countrymen remember him as the Lion of the Senate.

Born in Boston in 1932, Edward Moore Kennedy was the youngest of Rose and Joseph Kennedy's nine children. Ted, as he was called, grew up idolizing his older siblings, especially his brothers, Joe, John and Bobby.

Though the Kennedy family was blessed with money and privilege, they were also cursed by unimaginable tragedy. In 1944, Joe, the eldest sibling, died in World War II. Four years later, the fourth child, Kathleen, died in a plane crash.

In the '60s, the family lost two more loved ones before their time. In 1963, John F. Kennedy Jr., America's 35th president, was assassinated in Dallas. His younger brother, Bobby, met the same fate in 1968.

After Bobby's assassination, the youngest Kennedy, a Massachusetts senator, stepped forward. He quickly became the one everyone leaned on in times of tragedy. "Like my brothers before me, I pick up the fallen standard," he said. "Sustained by their memory of our priceless years together, I shall try to carry forward that special commitment to justice, to excellence, to courage that distinguished their lives."

And that's exactly what he did. For 46 years, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy served his country in the U.S. Senate and championed causes like civil rights, education and health insurance.

Then, on August 25, 2009, long after America laid his brothers to rest, Sen. Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer. This public figure died privately at his home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and wife of 17 years, Vicki Kennedy.

For the first time on television, Vicki speaks publicly about the last 15 months of her husband's life, a time marked by much joy, laughter and sorrow.


Next Story