Saoirse Kennedy Hill, a granddaughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, died on Thursday, August 1. She was 22.
The New York Times reports that Kennedy Hill suffered an apparent overdose at the family’s historic compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, where her grandmother and RFK’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, lives. Emergency personnel responded to the home on Thursday afternoon and rushed Kennedy Hill to Cape Cod Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse,” the Kennedy family said in a statement to the newspaper. “Her life was filled with hope, promise and love.”
Ethel, 91, added, “The world is a little less beautiful today.”
Kennedy Hill’s official cause of death “remains under investigation,” according to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.
Kennedy Hill was a student at Boston College, where she had been studying communications and served as vice president of the College Democrats. She was expected to graduate in 2020. She previously attended the private preparatory school Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.
In 2016, Kennedy Hill opened up about her battle with depression in Deerfield Academy’s student newspaper, The Deerfield Scroll. She wrote that her mental health struggles started in middle school and would “be with me for the rest of my life.”
Kennedy Hill’s death is far from the first tragedy to strike her famous political family. Her grandfather RFK and his brother President John F. Kennedy were assassinated in 1968 and 1963, respectively. Their brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed in action during World War II in 1944, and their sister Kathleen Cavendish died in an airplane crash in 1948. JFK’s son John F. Kennedy Jr. also died in a plane crash in 1999, and JFK’s youngest son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, died as an infant in 1963. Additionally, RFK and JFK’s brother Ted Kennedy, who was also a senator, served jail time for the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident, in which he accidentally drove his car off a single-lane bridge and into a pond, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.
Kennedy Hill is survived by her parents, Paul Michael Hill and Courtney Kennedy Hill, among other relatives.
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).