WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- World leaders on
Wednesday paid tribute to and mourned the passing of U.S. Senator Edward
Kennedy, who died at 77 after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer.
U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) waves
as he walks out of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston,
Massachusetts, in this May 21, 2008 file photo. (Xinhua/Reuters,
Edward Kennedy, nicknamed "Teddy", was the brother of
former U.S. President John Kennedy who was assassinated in 1963. He was the last
of Kennedy brothers in the legendary family and known as "The Lion of the
Upon learning Kennedy's death, UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon extended "deep sympathies" to Kennedy's family and spoke highly of
Kennedy's strong and firm support for "so many of the principles of the United
"He was not just a friend of those of power and high
position, but even more to those who had neither," Ban said in a statement. "He
was a voice for those who would otherwise go unheard, a defender of the rights
and interests of the defenseless."
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres
said the life of the late senator and brother of former U.S. President John F.
Kennedy is a testimony to the difference a single policy-maker can make.
The UN refugee chief praised Kennedy for keeping "the
plight of refugees on the international and national agenda," and "promoting
policies and laws that saved and shaped countless lives."
For nearly five decades in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy
fought for legislation improving the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers
and reducing discrimination against them.
Three hours after Kennedy died, U.S. President Barack
Obama, who was on a vacation in an East Coast resort, said his family was
"heartbroken" at the news.
U.S. President Barack Obama embraces
Senator Ted Kennedy (L) before Obama signed H.R. 1388, the Edward M.
Kennedy Serve America Act, at the SEED Public Charter School in
Washington, April 21, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters, File Photo)
"An important chapter in our history has come to an
end," Obama said in a statement. "Our country has lost a great leader, who
picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States
Senator of our time."
"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," the statement
Kennedy was one of the politicians who endorsed
Obama, the then first-term senator from Illinois, in the early phase of the
presidential campaign in 2008, and he presented himself several times at Obama's
Obama ordered that the flag of the United States
shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings
and grounds to mourn the Massachusetts senator.
Some former U.S. presidents also joined in mourning
Siblings Eunice Kennedy Shriver (L),
Jean Kennedy Smith (C) and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) take the
stage for the dedication of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in
Boston, Massachusetts in this July 26, 2004 file photo. (Xinhua/Reuters,
Jimmy Carter, who beat Kennedy in the 1980 Democratic
presidential nomination, called his old rival "an unwavering advocate for the
millions of less fortunate in our country."
Former President George H. W. Bush issued a statement
on behalf of himself and his son, former President George W. Bush, expressing
sympathies from members of the Republican Party.
"Kennedy was a seminal figure in the U.S. Senate -- a
leader who answered the call to duty for some 47 years, and whose death closes a
remarkable chapter in that body's history," Bush said.
In Britain, where Kennedy received an honorary
knighthood from the Queen in March for his services to the U.S.-British
relationship and to the Northern Ireland peace process, Prime Minister Gordon
Brown said Kennedy "will be mourned not just in America but in every continent."
Crowning him the "Senator of Senators", Brown said
that he was proud to have counted him as a friend.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said "Germany
and Europe have lost a good and treasured friend."
She lauded Kennedy's "convictions and steadfastness"
in advocating justice and peace, saying he was "one of the most prominent
politician in American history."
In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said Kennedy
was "a comrade and a friend" of his country "in the fight for liberation."
"We grieve the loss of this great man but the legacy
of his contribution to this world will continue to serve as a sort of hope to
us," Zuma said in a statement.
Kennedy will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery
in Virginia on Saturday, being laid to rest next to President John F. Kennedy
and Senator Robert Kennedy.
His death came just weeks after that of his sister
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, on Aug. 11.
U.S. politicians mourn the death of
WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Democratic and
Republican political figures joined on Wednesday in mourning the death of
Senator Edward Kennedy, who passed away earlier in the day at 77 after a
long-time struggle with cancer.
Three hours after Kennedy died at his home in
Massachusetts, President Barack Obama, who is currently taking a vacation in a
vineyard in the state, issued a statement, saying his family was "heartbroken"
at the news. Full story