The journey of the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy to his final resting place begins Thursday in Massachusetts.
The Democratic lawmaker died Tuesday at the age of 77, after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He was a U.S. senator for nearly half a century.
Kennedy's family will accompany his body from the oceanside town of Hyannis Port to Boston, where he will lie in repose at the presidential library and museum of his brother, former President John F. Kennedy.
Thousands of people are expected to file past Kennedy's closed casket. A private memorial service will be held Friday.
On Saturday, the senator's body will be taken to Boston's Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, where U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy during a funeral Mass.
Senator Kennedy attended the church each day during his daughter Kara's successful battle against lung cancer in 2003.
Later Saturday, Kennedy's body will be taken to Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, to be buried near President Kennedy and his other assassinated brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Tributes poured in Wednesday for Kennedy.
Speaking from Martha's Vineyard, a seaside resort near Kennedy's Massachusetts home, Mr. Obama said Kennedy helped make the nation more equal and just. The nation's first African-American president said Kennedy's ideas and ideals are in scores of laws and reflected in the lives of millions of people.
The president ordered flags at the White House, the U.S. Capitol building and all other federal buildings to fly at half-staff for the senator.
Lawmakers who served with Kennedy and all living former U.S. presidents praised the late senator for his ability to reach across party lines to pass health care, civil rights, and education legislation.
A champion for the poor and defender of the disadvantaged, he had a passionate, unwavering commitment to his views. With a towering presence in the Senate chamber and his ability to work across the political divide, he earned the nickname "Lion of the Senate."
Tributes from world leaders highlighted Kennedy's dedication to human rights and other issues, as well as his work to end apartheid in South Africa and achieve peace in Northern Ireland.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.