Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, died from a suspected drug overdose in her family’s Cape Cod home Thursday. The 22-year-old’s death is being reported as the latest tragedy in the “Kennedy Curse.”
Tara Miltimore of the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the Barnstable Police Department responded to the Hyannis Port home at 3 p.m. on Thursday “for an unresponsive female, later identified as Saoirse Kennedy Hill.”
Video: Kennedy Family Grieves After Loss of Saoirse Kennedy Hill
The statement read, “Hill was transported to Cape Cod Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has accepted jurisdiction of the case. An autopsy performed today has revealed no trauma inconsistent with lifesaving measures. The cause and manner of death are pending the toxicology report. The matter remains under investigation by Barnstable Police and State Police detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office.”
According to the New York Times, Saoirse, the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill and the granddaughter of Ethel Kennedy, 91, (who was married to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy) was declared dead at Cape Cod Hospital. She was a junior at Boston College.
“Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse,” the Kennedy family told the New York Times. “Her life was filled with hope, promise and love.” In the statement to the paper, Ethel said, “The world is a little less beautiful today.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, the Kennedy family said, "Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse...She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit...We will love her and miss her forever."
A spokesperson for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. Saoirse’s aunt Kerry Kennedy posted a photo of the two on Instagram writing, “Sweet Saoirse.”
The “Kennedy Curse” is a term in pop culture to describe untimely deaths in the iconic family — as members have died by assassination, plane crashes and other accidents stemming as far back as World War II.
In 1968, Saoirse’s grandfather Robert F. Kennedy was shot to death at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, during his Democratic presidential campaign.
The late senator was the brother of the 35th president John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963 while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas with his wife Jacqueline. Earlier that year, the New York Post reported, the couple lost their premature son, who died two days after birth. Jacqueline died in 1994 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 64.
And in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., the 38-year-old editor-in-chief of George magazine and son of the first couple, crashed a small plane into the ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. JFK Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessett-Kennedy, 33, and her sister Lauren, 34, all died.
In 1969, a week after driving his car off a cliff in Martha’s Vineyard and killing passenger and political activist Mary Jo Kopechne, Senator Ted Kennedy, the former president’s brother, mused on television whether "some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys." The senator died of cancer at age 77 in 2009.
Jack Dunn, a spokesperson for Boston College tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “Saoirse Kennedy Hill was a gifted student in the Class of 2020 at Boston College, where she studied Communication in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. She was also active in the College Democrats, and had many friends on the BC campus. Faculty who taught Saoirse describe her as ‘thoughtful and compassionate, and possessing a deep empathy for others.’ We extend our deepest condolences to her family in the wake of this tragic loss.”
Saoirse’s Twitter bio read, “Raising awareness for the #MeToo movement,” where she tweeted about President Trump, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. In 2018, she wrote from the account, “The sensationalization of claims made by women who are victims of sexual harassment and assault is one of the biggest issues the movement is tackling. Believing victims when they come forth is an important step in the fight against sexual assault.”
As a high school student at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, Saoirse wrote a 2016 op-ed for its newspaper The Deerfield Scroll describing her depression as “bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest” that increased during her sophomore year in high school.
She wrote, “My sense of well-being was already compromised, and I totally lost it after someone I knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries with me. I did the worst thing a victim can do, and I pretended it hadn’t happened. This all became too much, and I attempted to take my own life.”
Representatives of the Barnstable Police department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston, Mass. did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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