His voice breaking, Barack Obama paid tribute to Edward Kennedy, the veteran Washington power broker, who died last week, as America's elite gathered for a service of remembrance.
The US leader described the Democrat hero – who along with his two slain brothers President JFK and Robert was akin to royalty in America – as "the baby of the family who became its patriarch".
He went on to tell mourners including the senator's widow Victoria (pictured): "We do not weep today for the prestige attached to his name or his office.
"We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy."
Mr Obama also recalled how the senator wrote to every one of the 177 families affected by the September 11 tragedy, and continued to do so on every anniversary.
Politicians of every hue were united in their grief, with Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton, sitting alongside George W Bush and John McCain.
The 'Lion of the Senate', as he was known, will now rest for eternity alongside his two siblings in Washington's Arlington Cemetery.
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