The Associated Press

Edward M. Kennedy

HYANNIS PORT, Mass. (AP) - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in an enduring political dynasty and one of the most influential senators in history, died Tuesday. He was 77.

Kennedy, who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in May 2008, died at his home on Cape Cod, his family said.

In nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, served alongside 10 presidents - his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy among them - compiling an impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, immigration and more.

His only run for the White House ended in defeat in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter turned back his challenge for the party's nomination. More than a quarter-century later, he handed then-Sen. Barack Obama an endorsement at a critical point in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, explicitly likening the young contender to President Kennedy.

To the American public, Kennedy was best known as the last surviving son of America's most glamorous political family, father figure and, memorably, eulogist of an Irish-American clan plagued again and again by tragedy.

He was first elected to the Senate in 1962, taking the seat that his brother John had occupied before winning the White House, and served longer than all but two senators in history.