Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the granddaughter of Robert F Kennedy, has died, a family statement has confirmed. The 22-year-old daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's fifth child, Courtney, died on Thursday.
Saoirse Kennedy Hil is understood to have gone into cardiac arrest at the compound where her grandmother Ethel Kennedy, 91, lives. Emergency services were called to the Kennedy residence in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Ms Kennedy Hill was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital.
Saoirse Kennedy Hil has died from a suspected drug overdose at her family’s home in Cape Cod, reports claim
“Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse,” the Kennedy family said in a statement.
“Her life was filled with hope, promise and love.”
Her grandmother, Ethel Kennedy, said: “The world is a little less beautiful today.”
Saoirse was the only daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s fifth child, Courtney, and Paul Michael Hill. Hill was one of four falsely convicted in the 1974 Irish Republican Army bombings of two pubs.
While at boarding school, Saoirse wrote about her struggle with depression and mental health.
She revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a friend during her junior year at Deerfield Academy and attempted to take her own life.
In an article for her student paper, she told how this trauma prompted her to seek treatment for her depression.
"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," she wrote.
"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 revealed that as a child she suffered “bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest”.
Saoirse said her depression "took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life".
Speaking about her time in school, she wrote: "Deerfield is one of the top educational institutions in the country, yet no one seems to know how to talk about mental illness.
"People talk about cancer freely; why is it so difficult to discuss the effects of depression, bi-polar, anxiety, or schizophrenic disorders?"
Saoirse went on to enroll at Boston College, where she was a communication major and vice president of the College Democrats.
She was passionate about human rights and women’s empowerment and worked with indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico.
“She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit,” the family statement said.
History of family tragedy
Kennedy family is no stranger to tragedy. This will add to a litany of untimely deaths which had led members of the family to question whether there is a so-called Kennedy curse,
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 on a visit to Dallas, Texas, when he was 46 years old.
The former president’s brother and Saoirse’s grandad, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated just years later in 1968 in Los Angeles during his own presidential run.
Their brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed in World War II, and their sister Kathleen Cavendish died in a plane crash in 1948.
The president’s son, John F. Kennedy Jr., was killed in 1999 when the airplane he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard.
His wife and sister-in-law were on board and were also killed.