The official cause of death for Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, has been revealed. The Barnstable Country Town Clerk’s office confirms to Us Weekly that the 22-year-old had methadone, fluoxetine, norfluoxetine, diazepam, nordiazepam and alcohol in her system upon her death. According to her death certificate, the manner was ruled an accident.
Kennedy Hill was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on Thursday, August 1, after being found unresponsive at her family’s historic compound.
“Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse,” the Kennedy family said in a statement to The New York Times at the time. “Her life was filled with hope, promise and love.”
Kennedy Hill’s grandmother and RFK’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, added in a statement of her own, “The world is a little less beautiful today.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., meanwhile, wrote on Instagram, “We’ve lost our daughter and our children, their sister. Saoirse was fierce, both in her love for her family and yearning for justice. A fearless adventurer, she inspired curiosity and daring in her friends. But her greatest gift was to find humor in everything and to give us all the gift of her laughter – and our own. The gaping hole that she leaves in our family is a wound too large to ever heal.”
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We’ve lost our daughter and our children, their sister. Saoirse was fierce, both in her love for her family and yearning for justice. A fearless adventurer, she inspired curiosity and daring in her friends. But her greatest gift was to find humor in everything and to give us all the gift of her laughter – and our own. The gaping hole that she leaves in our family is a wound too large to ever heal. 1) Saoirse at our Cape House. 2) Leaping from jetty with cousin Michaela. 3) Cheryl moves Saoirse into Boston College dorm. 4) On stage with Kenny Chesney at Foxborough with Courtney, Noah, and Kenny in mid leap. 5) with her cousins on Glide. 6) relaxing with cousin Noah on boom. 7) New Years Day On summit of Ajax with cousins. 8) A luminous, beautiful soul. 9) with Cheryl at Cape. 10) Swinging on halyard into Nantucket Sound.
Kennedy Hill was a communications major at Boston College and had been set to graduate in 2020. She previously attended the private preparatory school Deerfield Academy, where she once wrote an op-ed about her mental health struggles for the student newspaper, The Deerfield Scroll.
“My depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life,” she wrote in the February 2016 article. “Although I was mostly a happy child, I suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest. These bouts would come and go, but they did not outwardly affect me until I was a new sophomore at Deerfield.”
Kennedy Hill revealed in the op-ed that someone she “knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries” with her before her junior year of high school. “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,” she wrote.
“We are all either struggling or know someone who is battling an illness,” the article concluded. “Let’s come together to make our community more inclusive and comfortable.”
Tragedy has struck the Kennedy family countless times through the years. RFK and President John F. Kennedy were assassinated, their brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed during World War II and their sister Kathleen Cavendish died in a plane crash. Two of JFK’s three children with wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, also met untimely deaths.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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