Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 19:38 UK

Kennedy brain surgery 'a success'

Senator Edward Kennedy leaves Massachusetts General Hospital, 21 May 2008
Mr Kennedy is an influential backer of presidential hopeful Barack Obama

US Senator Edward Kennedy has undergone "successful" surgery for a cancerous brain tumour, his doctor says.

Dr Allan Friedman said a three-hour procedure had been carried out at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina that "accomplished our goals".

The Massachusetts senator, 76, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour last month following a seizure.

The youngest brother of assassinated President John F Kennedy now faces chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Dr Friedman, the chief of neurosurgery at the hospital, said his patient was awake during the procedure, and should experience no permanent neurological effects as a result.

'A million bucks'

Mr Kennedy spoke with his wife, Vicki, directly after his surgery, a hospital spokeswoman said.

"I feel like a million bucks. I think I'll do that again tomorrow," the Associated Press reported him as saying.

Earlier, he released a statement saying he and his wife had "decided that the best course of action for my brain tumour is targeted surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation".

Doctors diagnosed a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe after Mr Kennedy was admitted to hospital in mid-May.

Mr Kennedy added: "After completing treatment, I look forward to returning to the United States Senate and to doing everything I can to help elect Barack Obama president."

The second longest-serving member of the Senate, Mr Kennedy has been an active supporter of Senator Obama in his fight to be the Democratic choice to run for US president.


Mr Kennedy is now expected to recuperate in hospital for a week before undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital.

1932 Born, youngest of nine siblings
1962 Becomes country's youngest senator
1963, 1968 Brothers President John F Kennedy and Senator Robert F Kennedy both assassinated
1969 "Chappaquiddick incident" - Kennedy flees scene after road crash in which his young female passenger dies
1980 Runs unsuccessfully for Democratic nomination against sitting President Jimmy Carter

In his statement, the senator said he was "deeply grateful" to the people of Massachusetts and friends and colleagues for their support.

"I am humbled by the outpouring and am strengthened by your prayers and kindness," he said.

Mr Kennedy was first elected senator for Massachusetts in November 1962 - shortly after turning the requisite 30 years of age - to replace his brother, who had been elected president in 1960.

Since then he has been re-elected seven times.

Powerful clan

Born into a rich and powerful Irish-American Catholic family, the son of Joseph Kennedy, Edward "Teddy" Kennedy became the head of the clan after the deaths of his three elder brothers.

The eldest, Joseph Jr, was killed while flying a bomber during World War II.

John was assassinated while president in 1963, and Robert was shot dead while running for president in 1968.

Edward, or Teddy, as he is known, ran against sitting President Jimmy Carter in 1980, but failed, after struggling to put the infamous "Chappaquiddick incident" behind him.

He had, in 1969, crashed a car off a bridge, and while he escaped, his passenger - Mary Jo Kopechne, aged 28 - drowned in the water below. He did not report the incident to police for more than eight hours.

He later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended two-month prison sentence.

Mr Kennedy is the father of Congressman Patrick J Kennedy.

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