Here is the full statement from Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy:
I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. As a nation and as a people, we have lost one of the finest, most dedicated, and committed political leaders of our time. Senator Kennedy was a champion for equal justice for every American, but especially for those who have been left out and left behind.I have known Ted Kennedy for more than 47 years. In that time, it has been my greatest pleasure to work with him in the Congress to try to tackle many human problems, but I am especially gratified by his contributions to the cause of civil rights and voting rights.At some of the most tragic and difficult moments in this nation’s history, Ted Kennedy gathered his strength and led us toward a more hopeful future. As a nation and as a people, he encouraged us to build upon the inspirational leadership of his two brothers and use it to leave a legacy of social transformation that has left its mark on history.But more than history can convey, Senator Edward Kennedy held an enduring place in all of our hearts. He was one of the warmest, most considerate, and understanding individuals you might ever meet. He was a wonderful, devoted friend—so caring, so sharing, so giving.I loved him like a brother. My heart goes out to his wife Vicky, his children, and the entire Kennedy family. He will be deeply missed.