August 26th, 2009
08:53 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Sen. Ted Kennedy Loses Brain Cancer Battle

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Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight we’ll have an in-depth look at Sen. Ted Kennedy’s life, legacy and battle with brain cancer.

As you’ve heard by now, the Massachusetts senator died last night, surrounded by his family, 15 months after learning he had an aggressive form of brain cancer. Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us with details on malignant glioma and its treatment.

Senator Kennedy’s final months were not easy. He knew the odds he was facing–but he didn’t put his life on hold.

After serving for 47 years in the U.S. Senate, the issue he cared so deeply about, health care reform, is in play again. While his illness and treatments prevented him from playing as big a role in the debate as he otherwise may have, Kennedy stayed in the game as much as he could. Tonight, we’ll look at what his loss means for the health care reform battle ahead.

Allies and adversaries of Senator Kennedy have been speaking out all day, reacting to his death, paying tribute to his accomplishments. He was the youngest of the Kennedy clan, the baby brother who grew up to become the third-longest serving senator ever. He was the only Kennedy son to live beyond middle-age and die of natural causes. Tonight you’ll hear from many who knew him.

The road to becoming a senior statesman, the so-called lion of the Senate, had some serious bumps: the fatal car accident in Chappaquiddick in 1969; the plane crash that broke his back; an ugly divorce; a failed presidential bid. We’ll take you through Kennedy’s journey tonight.

See you at 10 eastern.

Filed under: 360° Q & A • Sen. Ted Kennedy
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. awu01

    Deeply sorry about Ted Kennedy's recent death.
    Simply put – no healthy body, no healthy country. A country need to protect all their people before a country can stand strong again. See how much know-how is lost from this senator if regular routine examination can be given on schedule. This type of lost can be minimized.
    Let's all work toward a national health care reform. Please be an advocator and protect Americans.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  2. Chris Gorman

    Hi Anderson,
    The people of this country owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ted Kennedy and the entire Kennedy family. What dedication to service for so long and for so many, where would we be without all of their efforts?
    Rest in peace, Teddy, you've earned it.

    August 27, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  3. Joannie Dwire

    Just when our country needs more compassion from our represenatives, we lose our greatest ally.....Senator Kennedy will be missed by millions

    August 27, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  4. JP22070

    My first memory in my life that I carry with me to this day was in 1968. When Bobby Kennedy died. I was 8 years old and my mom woke me up crying. She took me downstairs to watch the TV. My second memory is the eulogy given by Ted Kennedy at the funeral. It left an impression on me that I can't shake. Just go to You Tube and search "funeral train". You will hear the most amazing speech ever given by Ted Kennedy. His eulogy to Bobby.

    No family has given so much for our country as the Kennedy's have. Now they are all gone. Oh god, I miss them. I miss them so much.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:39 am |
  5. JP22070

    Go to YouTube and search "Funeral train" –
    No family has given so much for our country as the Kennedy's have. Now they are all gone. Oh god, I miss them. I miss them so much.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  6. J.V.Hodgson

    There are millions of words out there and none greater than the Legislation he achieved. fundamentally they speak better than any Eulogy for the man and his life.
    Ther is also another aspect and that is "Respect" and why he achieved so much accross so called party lines or never really got gridlocked.
    His respect was engendered by a respect for voters of all kinds. Sincere in his beliefs and capable of listening, changing when needed and being obdurate when necessary.
    There is he recognised no such thing as Bi partisan politics only the politics of respect and persuasion for the good of all the people in the nation. Both Parties will do him a significant service to his memory to start respecting each others views and do what politicians should do which is look after all voters first in the Health care debate, listen to vested interests, but vote conscience and the will of the people which, even in those who disagree, nearly all say the American system needs fixing and no one should be left uninsured.
    A final request stop polling people on Health care reform bills/proposals ( there is no bill yet) when it is not close enough to a potentially signable Bill, and the Senate version or house versions are not even finalised.
    One thing is for sure status quo ( purely private) has not worked for as long as it has existed means exhorbitant premium increases and leaving any where between 30 to 50m uninsured and that's failure.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:03 am |
  7. Bonnie Calcagno

    Passing a health care bill would be one way we could pay tribute to Ted Kennedy, But another is to appoint Caroline Kennedy to his Senate seat. With a book on the bill of rights and another on privacy under her belt, she is the exact person we need to stand up for the civil liberties issues Obama has been silent on. Her uncle wanted to see her become Senator of New York, to carry on the work her uncle championed the Massachusetts Governor should appoint Caroline to what remains of her uncle's senate seat.

    August 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  8. Jan

    My sympathies go out tonight, but not to the Kennedy family. They go to the Kopechne family, who is burdened with hearing all the homage being paid to a man who let Mary Jo die a lingering horrific death. He never did a single day in jail for his crime. Ted Kennedy was no hero.

    Ted Kennedy was a verified cheater (thrown out of Harvard for paying somebody to take a test for him), philanderer, drunk, liar, and most of all, the man who was responsible for the death of a young bright woman.

    I hope justice is served where he's at now, because it never was when he was on earth.

    August 26, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  9. Jan Britton

    Senator Kennedy will be missed – In October 2001 my daughter and I were on the beach near the compound. Senator Kennedy walked up to us and ask us if we were here on vacation, what had we seen and were we enjoying Boston and the Cape. Amazing !! Then he asked us if we wanted a picture and he called Vicky over to take a picture of the three of us. He was truly the "people's friend". J.Britton

    August 26, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  10. Sharen Wolke

    Thank you, CNN for your tribute to Ted Kennedy.

    August 26, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  11. Larryboy

    I will remember the lives he affected the most – Mary Jo Kopechne! Ted Kennedy got away with murderer. And we sure didn't need any DNA to solve that case...

    August 26, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  12. Emely

    Today is a sad for our nation, the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy is a great loss to our country. Whether you agreed with his politics or not his dedication to this nation is undeniable. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends during this difficult time.

    August 26, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  13. nancy

    Thank you for giving some information about Glioblastoma. It is not just a disease of old people and treatments for it have not advanced much in the last 25 years because research is grossly underfunded. A disease that is a death sentence should receive more focus. We know when our resources are focused, great strides can be made. Look at AIDS, years ago would have meant certain death...look at the strides made in breast cancer, colon cancer. Unfortunately, its not something that really can be screened for unless, with your colonoscopy you have and MRI. Certainly the incidence of Glioblastoma Multiforme is not that of AIDS, breast cancer or colon cancer, but as we have seen tonight, it can take from us average Americans as well as heros of America. Please help in creating more awareness so money can be raised to help support promising research that someday this horrible disease can be controlled or cured. How can we face our children, who as young adults might be faced with this brain cancer, and all we can say is we really didn't care enough about this kind of cancer to really support research for it. Please help get the word out. My best friend just passed away 8 weeks ago, living 18 months, from Glioblastoma too. In the memory of Senator Kennedy and all those wonderful people who have had to fight this losing battle, lets support research to put an end to Glioblastoma.

    August 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  14. Ursi Eisinger

    Awesome article I learned a ton

    August 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  15. zoe

    It is sometimes hard to reconcile his personal life with his political one but it shows how second or in his case multiple chances can actually yield a person capable of contributing much to this nation. Still I wished he had the guts to help save the woman and call the police right away. Sad day for so many reasons.

    August 26, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  16. Lori

    Looking forward to the show.

    August 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm |
  17. Charles

    Hi Andersson
    I bet you won't post my comments to-day. It might blot the Stalin-like celebration of personality which superpowers historically seem to enjoy. Roman, Nazi, Japan, USSR, Maoist China, N. Korea, USA .....

    August 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  18. carol kesling

    god bless sen. ted....peace be with you and your family. you will be missed allways.........

    August 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  19. Tammy, Houma, LA

    So when is the canonization for the womanizing drunk?

    August 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  20. Stan, Canada

    The least the Congress should be able to do is pass health care reform in honor of Ted Kennedy, after all almost more than any other single piece of legislation in the last two decades it's the one that will mean the most if it's passed.

    August 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  21. Annie Kate

    Health care reform seemed destined yet again for the trash can. It will be interesting to see if Sen. Kennedy's death rescues it from that fate or speeds it up. I'm looking forward to the show to see what the experts think. I hope some sort of health care reform goes forward especially since Senator Kennedy devoted so much of his career towards working to provide it to all Americans.

    August 26, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  22. Charles

    Why is Kennedy lauded for his efforts in Ireland which resulted in the release of hundreds of unrepentent terrorists in the prime of life, into the communities where their victims families still lived.
    International and CNN press has pictures of Kennedy with Jerry Adams, and unrepentent terrorist leader. Clancy has an interview with a convicted terrorist (Martin Mc Guinness) praising Kennedy.
    All this shows a truly apalling lack of concern for the victims of the terrorists that Kennedy supported. This is only rivalled by the lack of perspective of Americans as they rant about Scotland and one dying man. The truth is that Americans truly believe that their lives are more important than others.
    Kill a a few hundred Americans in one incident and it is an irredeemable act of evil (even on ones deathbead). Orchestrate a decades long terror campaign equivalent to a 911 incident every 4 months for 30 years (in per capita terms) and that is quite foregiveable. After all the victims were not Amercican.

    August 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  23. Melanie

    Good evening Anderson and Erica. May Senator Kennedy rest in peace, he will surely be missed.

    August 26, 2009 at 8:54 pm |