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What we know about Saoirse Kennedy Hill

The Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Here’s what we know about 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill, whose death was announced by her family on Thursday.

■ Kennedy Hill died of an apparent overdose just weeks before the start of her senior year at Boston College. A school spokesman said she was slated to graduate in 2020.

■A cause of death has not yet been determined and officials say they will await the results of a toxicology report. An autopsy found no signs of trauma “inconsistent with life saving measures.”

■ Kennedy Hill was the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill and Paul Michael Hill, and the granddaughter of Ethel Kennedy and her late husband, Robert F. Kennedy. Hill, her father, was one of four people falsely convicted in the 1974 Irish Republican Army bombings of two pubs.


■ She wrote movingly of her struggle with mental illness at Deerfield Academy in a 2016 op-ed:

“People talk about cancer freely; why is it so difficult to discuss the effects of depression, bi-polar, anxiety, or schizophrenic disorders? Just because the illness may not be outwardly visible doesn’t mean the person suffering from it isn’t struggling. I have experienced a lot of stigma surrounding mental health on Deerfield’s campus. As students, we have the power to end that immediately. Stigma places blame on the person suffering from the illness and makes them ashamed to talk openly about what they’re going through,” she wrote.

■ Kennedy Hill died at the home of her grandmother Ethel on the Kennedy compound, a complex of three houses along Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port. The Kennedys and Hyannis Port have been synonymous for much of the past 100 years. The Kennedy family patriarch, Joseph P., purchased the main house in the 1920s and renovated it over the years. Two nearby smaller homes were later bought by sons John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.


Saoirse Kennedy Hill.Twitter

■ Kennedy Hill was briefly in the news as a child in 2007 after reports that she was the victim of an attempted abduction in Cape Cod. She was walking home from playing tennis when a man in a white van asked her if she wanted a ride. She ran home and told another girl, whose mother told police, according to an archived report from WCVB. She was 10 years old at the time.

■ Her family members have expressed their sorrow at the death of the young woman, with her grandmother, Ethel, saying the world is “a little less beautiful” without her.

“Saoirse will always remain in our hearts,” wrote Patrick Kennedy.

“We love you Saoirse,” her aunt, Kerry Kennedy, tweeted.

“A brave young woman left our world yesterday,” Maria Shriver said.

Previous Globe reporting was used in the story. Christina Prignano can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.