• Granddaughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy dies at Kennedy compound

    By: Boston 25 News Staff

    Updated:

    HYANNIS PORT, Mass. - A 22-year-old granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy died Thursday at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, the family said in a statement.

    Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, was the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's fifth child, Courtney, and Paul Michael Hill, who was one of four falsely convicted in the 1974 Irish Republican Army bombings of two pubs.

    The Kennedy family released a statement on Thursday night, following reports of a death at the family's compound in Hyannis Port. The statement was issued by Brian Wright O'Connor, a spokesman for former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II.

    "She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit," the statement said, adding that she was passionate about human rights and women's empowerment and worked with indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico.

    Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise and love. She cared deeply about friends and family, especially her mother Courtney, her father Paul, her stepmother Stephanie, and her grandmother Ethel, who said, “The world is a little less beautiful today.” She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit. Saoirse was passionately moved by the causes of human rights and women’s empowerment and found great joy in volunteer work, working alongside indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico. We will love her and miss her forever.

    The statement says Saoirse Hill was passionate about human rights and women's empowerment and that she worked with indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico.

    The statement quoted her 91-year-old grandmother, Ethel Kennedy, as saying "the world is a little less beautiful today."

    The family statement did not include a cause of death, but audio of a Barnstable police scanner call obtained by The Associated Press said officers were responding to a report of a drug overdose at the compound.

    An autopsy performed on Friday showed no signs of trauma inconsistent with life-saving measures. Saoirse's official cause and manner of death will be revealed after a toxicology report is released.

    Saoirse attended Boston College, where she was a member of the class of 2020.

    Jack Dunn, a spokesperson for Boston College issued the following statement on behalf of the university regarding Saoirse's death: 

    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 campus. 

    We extend our condolences to her family in the wake of this tragic loss.

    In 2016, she openly wrote about mental illness, battling depression and a suicide attempt while a student at Deerfield Academy. In the article, she also wrote about a sexual assault "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," she wrote. "This all became too much, and I attempted to take my own life."

    Thursday afternoon, paramedics responded to a medical call at the Kennedy compound property.

    Sky25 video captured two police officers going into one of the homes at the compound around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

    >>Photos: The life and death of JFK

    A police cruiser and a red car were also parked outside the waterfront property earlier on Thursday when the victim was taken to Cape Cod Hospital. 

    In a statement, assistant district attorney Tara Miltimore, of the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office, said police responded to a Marchant Avenue residence for an unattended death.

    Earlier this afternoon Barnstable Police responded to a residence on Marchant Ave in Hyannisport for a reported unattended death.  The matter remains under investigation by Barnstable Police and State Police detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office.   -Assistant District Attorney Tara Miltimore 

    Police say they responded to 28 Marchant Ave. for a medical call shortly after 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Fire crews cleared the scene at 2:54 p.m.

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    Thousands took to social media to express their condolences to the Kennedy family for their loss. 

    The family and close friends posted messages on social media on Friday morning mourning the loss of Saoirse.

    The home, which is assessed at $2.5 million, has been owned by several Kennedy family members over the years, including the late Edward M. Kennedy and the late Robert F. Kennedy, online assessor's records show.

    In the 1960s, the compound served as the summer White House for President John F. Kennedy.

    >>PREVIOUS: Rare Kennedy photos go inside America's most famous family

    Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles in 1968 after winning California's presidential primary. He had served as attorney general in the administration of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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