Tributes to the late Ted Kennedy have started pouring in from Ireland and America.

President Barack Obama released the following statement:

"Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. 

"For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

"I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom. An important chapter in our history has come to an end.

"Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United And the Kennedy family has lost their patriarch, a tower of strength and support through good times and bad. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today--to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family."

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Brian Cowen released the following statement on hearing of the death of the long time senator from Massachusetts:

"Ted hailed from a most famous Irish-American family, and through his own endeavors and achievement, he has added further luster to the reputation of a great family  . . .

"In good days and bad, Ted Kennedy worked valiantly for the cause of peace on this island. He played a particularly important role in the formative days of the Northern Ireland Peace Process in the early to mid-1990s. He has also always been a strong advocate of US investment in Ireland.

"Today, America has lost a great and respected statesman and Ireland has lost a long-standing and true friend."

U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney said the following:

"It is with great sorrow that I report the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was not only a great American statesmen, but also a great friend of mine and all the island of Ireland and its people.

"Since his early days in the Senate, Senator Kennedy was active in the Northern Ireland peace process. A member of the 'Four Horsemen,' he was instrumental in advancing the historic ceasefire in 1994, and he contributed to the talks that brought peace."

Irish President Mary Mcaleese said the following:

"His death will be greeted with a great sense of sadness here because of his long standing affection for this country, not just with the peace process, but on many other issues, including emigration," she said.

"His outstanding and remarkable personal contribution was made, despite the sacrifice and sorrow that was part of the overall contribution of the entire Kennedy family."