EARLY INSTANT WEDNESDAY MORNING REACTION:
Kennedy family statement: "He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him."
GOP consultant Patrick Ruffini: "I don't think you can underestimate the way in which Kennedy made Obama. Post-South Carolina, he gave Obama continued mo' heading into Feb 5."
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan: "Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground and they had great respect."
USA Today redoes its final front page and has a portrait with the huge headline, "Ted Kennedy dies"
The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder: "Kennedy called his 2003 Iraq war vote "the best" of his his entire Senate career. (He voted "no"...)"
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Teddy inspired our country through his dedication and his devotion to a life of public service."
ABC's Terry Moran: "Ted Kennedy was a proud liberal. To many, he was divisive because of his beliefs. But never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior."
Karl Frisch of Media Matters for America: "Make It So - Limbaugh on Healthcare: "Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill"
NBC's Tom Brokaw: "I don't think we ought to think death as a tragic death. He had a full life . . . He has left an indelible imprint on the country."
HYANNIS PORT, Mass. -- Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, a liberal icon and a giant member of a legendary American political family, died early Wednesday morning after a year-long battle with a malignant brain tumor.
He was 77.
"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives," read a Kennedy family statement. "The inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever."
"We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice," the statement concluded.
For more than 45 years in the Senate, Kennedy had been a champion of liberal causes and chair of the powerful health committee. His name has been invoked numerous times in the pitched battle over health care reform - an issue he called the cause of his life.
He vowed, at a White House event in March, to see it passed.
"I'm looking forward to being a foot soldier in this undertaking," Kennedy said. "This time we will not fail."
Continue reading the AP's report at Ky3.com.