The Kennedy Curse: Decades of family tragedies

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FILE – This Aug. 27, 2009 file photo shows the main home in the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, has died at the age of 22. The Kennedy family released a statement on Thursday night, Aug. 1, 2019, following reports of a death at the family’s compound in Hyannis Port. Hill was the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s fifth child, Courtney, and Paul Michael Hill. (AP Photo/Stew Milne, File)

(WWLP) – The death of 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, is just the latest tragedy to strike the Kennedy family.

Here’s a timeline that stretches back almost 80 years:

1941 – Rosemary Kennedy was often believed to have been intellectually disabled.

Her father, Joseph Sr., arranged in secret for her to undergo a lobotomy. 

The lobotomy instead left her unable to walk or speak well, and as a result, Rosemary remained institutionalized until her death in 2005.

Rose Kennedy with her children: Eunice, Kathleen, Rosemary, John, and Joseph, Jr. (l-r), Hyannisport, Massachusetts. (AP)

August 12, 1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. died when his plane exploded over East Suffolk, England during World War II.

Joseph P. Kennedy , Jr ,son of the former Ambassador to Great Britain, poses beside the propeller of a plane at the Squadrum Naval Air Base, at Squantum, Mass., near Boston where he started training on July 15,1941. During World War II, Joseph Kennedy Jr., was killed in action on Aug. 12, 1944, when the plane he was flying on a mission exploded on a mission over the English Channel. (AP Photo)

May 13, 1948 – Kathleen Cavendish, daughter of Joseph Kennedy Sr. and Rose Kennedy, died in a plane crash in France.

Kathleen Kennedy, known as “Kick”, was married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington. Lady Hartington, 28, widow of the Marquess of Hartington, and daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, former US Ambassador to Great Britain, was reported killed in a plane crash on May 13, 1948 near Saint Bauzille in the Rhone River Valley of France, at Ardeche, north of Marseille. (AP Photo)

August 9, 1963 – Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, son of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy, died of infant respiratory distress syndrome two days after his premature birth.

Granite headstones mark the graves of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, left, and Baby Girl Kennedy, right, on either side of the palm shrouded burial place of their father, President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 11, 1963. Floral pieces, which are being added are removed daily, are placed about the fence enclosed plot. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz)

November 22, 1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

FILE – In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy rides in a motorcade with his wife Jacqueline moments before he was shot and killed in Dallas, Tx. (AP Photo, File)

June 19, 1964 – U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was involved in a plane crash in Southampton, Massachusetts which one of his aides and the pilot were killed. 

Kennedy spent weeks in a hospital recovering from a broken back, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy smiles and waves a bandaged hand from the back of an ambulance July 9, 1964 after a 100-mile from Northampton to Boston. Kennedy was transferred to New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, from Cooley-Dickenson Hospital, Northampton. (AP Photo)

June 5, 1968 – U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles following his victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.

FILE – In this April 2, 1968 file photo U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-NY, shakes hands with people in a crowd while campaigning for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination on a street corner, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Warren Winterbottom, File)

July 18, 1969 – In the Chappaquiddick incident, Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, which fatally trapped his 28-year-old passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of the accident causing personal injury.


November 17, 1973 – Ted Kennedy’s son, 12-year-old Edward M. Kennedy Jr. had to have his right leg surgically amputated due to bone cancer.


April 25, 1984 – David A. Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, died of a cocaine overdose in a Palm Beach, Florida hotel room.

This undated picture shows David Anthony Kennedy. The 28-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, died Wednesday, April 25, 1984, the office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy announced. Kennedy aide Robert Shrum said he had no details, but authorities in Palm Beach, Fla. reported finding the body of Kennedy in a hotel room where he had been staying alone. (AP-Photo/dck/-undated-)

April 1, 1991 – William Kennedy Smith, son of Jean Kennedy Smith, was arrested and charged with the rape of a young woman at the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach, Florida.  Smith was acquitted.

William Kennedy Smith arrives at his lawyer’s office in Washington, May 10, 1991 after Palm Beach police issued a warrant for his arrest. Smith was charged with a second-degree felony of rape and assault. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)

December 31, 1997 – Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, died in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado.

FILE -Michael Kennedy is seen in this July 31, 1997 file photo at the Statehouse in Boston. Kennedy, son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident during a family outing in Aspen, Colo. (AP Photo/ Steven Senne)

July 16, 1999 – John F. Kennedy Jr. died when his plane he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.  His wife and sister-in-law also died.

John F. Kennedy Jr (AP)

September 16, 2011 – Kara Kennedy, daughter of Ted Kennedy,  died of a heart attack while exercising in a Washington, D.C. health club at age 51. 

Kara Kennedy, daughter of late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy (AP)

May 16, 2012 – Mary Richardson Kennedy committed suicide on the grounds of her home in Bedford, Westchester County, New York.

Mary Richardson Kennedy, wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (AP)

August 1, 2019 – 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill,  granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, was found dead of a suspected drug overdose at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Saoirse Kennedy Hill (CNN Newsource)

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