Robert F. Kennedy‘s granddaughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, died after a suspected overdose at the family’s Massachusetts compound Thursday. She was 22.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the famous political family confirmed the tragic news just hours after paramedics rushed to the famed Hyannis Port property.
“Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise, and love,” the family said. “She cared deeply about friends and family, especially her mother Courtney, her father Paul, her stepmother Stephanie, and her grandmother Ethel.”
Ethel Kennedy, 91, also said of her grandaughter’s unexpected passing, “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.”
Saoirse was the only daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, 62, and Paul Hill, 65.
Multiple outlets including The Hyannis News and The New York Times reported that the home, where Saoirse was found, belonged to her grandmother Ethel, the 91-year-old widow of the late senator Robert F. Kennedy.
On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Tara Miltimore of the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE that the incident is currently under investigation by authorities.
“Earlier this afternoon Barnstable Police responded to a residence on Marchant Ave in Hyannis Port for a reported unattended death,” Miltimore says. “The matter remains under investigation by Barnstable Police and State Police detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office.”
According to The Hyannis News, local police responded to the scene just after 2:30 p.m. on Thursday after a report of a possible overdose.
A paramedic, who was one of the first on the scene, radioed for backup as Saoirse was in cardiac arrest, according to the local outlet.
The Hyannis Fire Department also confirmed to the News that they responded to a “medical call.”
Saoirse was then rushed to Cape Cod Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Investigators currently remain at the scene as they continue to investigate the fatal incident.
Saoirse’s mother Courtney, who is the fifth of Ethel and Robert Kennedy’s 11 children, met Paul after he spent 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
The Irishman, along with Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong, and Carole Richardson, were being wrongly convicted of a bombing carried out by the IRA and became known as the Guilford Four.
The group confessed to the bombing under extreme coercion by the police. Their battle for justice was immortalized in the 1993 film In the Name of the Father starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
Courtney and Paul eventually married in 1993 and welcomed Saoirse in 1997, but separated just nine years later in 2006, when their daughter was 9-years-old.
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SOURCE: People – Joelle Goldstein