The 76-year-old liberal lion’s cancer diagnosis, days after he was airlifted to a
"Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe," physicians Lee Schwamm and Larry Ronan said in a statement.
Normal treatment for such a condition is radiation and chemotherapy, the doctors said, adding that Kennedy, sole surviving brother of assassinated president John F. Kennedy, was in "good spirits and full of energy."
Schwamm, vice chairman of
The statement did not offer a prognosis, but said Kennedy who has served with nine
But the U.S. National Cancer Institute says the outlook with such a diagnosis is poor, with average life expectancy, depending on the stage of the tumor, from a few months to up to five years.
The White House, and shocked U.S. lawmakers, quickly paid tribute to Kennedy, who has steered his political dynasty through repeated tragedy, carved out a political legend in the Senate, but been reviled by some conservatives.
"Ted Kennedy is a man of tremendous courage, remarkable strength, and powerful spirit," President George W. Bush said in a statement.
"Our thoughts are with Senator Kennedy and his family during this difficult period. We join our fellow Americans in praying for his full recovery."
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, to whom Kennedy symbolically passed the torch of idealism earlier this year with his endorsement, described the senator as a giant of the Democratic Party and American politics.
"I might not be in the Senate had it not been for him, because of the battles he fought for voting rights and civil rights early in his career," Obama said on MSNBC.
"When he gets on that stage, its magic, and that voice comes out from deep inside him and he starts winding up, and you know, you can feel history coursing through him."
Obama’s Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton, who was stung that Kennedy did not endorse her, said she was praying for a quick and full recovery.
Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, a survivor of skin cancer, offered a warm tribute from across the aisle. "I have described Ted Kennedy as the last lion in the Senate, and I have held that view because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate."
The most emotional comments came from 90-year-old Senator Robert Byrd, the only man currently in the Senate who has served longer than Kennedy. "Ted, my dear friend, I love you, and I miss you ... thank God for you, Ted. Thank God for you."
Kennedy is an unapologetic liberal and an orator who recalls a bygone era of stem-winding political rhetoric, but has reached out to work with Republicans. He is a champion of causes such as health care, education, workers rights and immigration reform, and has been a fierce Bush critic.
Kennedy, whose eighth term in the Senate expires in 2012, was once the heir apparent of his political dynasty, and apparently destined for the White House. But his career was rocked by the death of a young woman, Mary Joe Kopechne, in his car late one night in 1969 after he drove it off a bridge near
He did run for president in 1980 against incumbent Jimmy Carter. Kennedy lost the Democratic nomination but managed to harm the sitting
Kennedy’s latest health scare came six months after he had surgery to clear a blockage in a major neck artery, a common procedure to prevent a stroke.
John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963, and brother Robert Kennedy was shot dead while campaigning for the presidency in 1968. His eldest brother Joseph died in a plane crash during World War II.