Is 'Kennedy curse' real? Saoirse Kennedy Hill's death is the latest in a long list of tragedies in America's former first family

After the latest death, a number of media outlets began calling her the latest victim of the "Kennedy curse" that has plagued the family for decades

                            Is 'Kennedy curse' real? Saoirse Kennedy Hill's death is the latest in a long list of tragedies in America's former first family

The once much-talked "Kennedy curse" was the pivot of discussions once again after Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, died of an apparent drug overdose at her family's Hyannis Port home in Massachusetts on August 1. 

"The world is a little less beautiful today," Ethel Kennedy, Robert's widow was quoted as saying in the family statement after her grandaughter's death. The cause of her death is not confirmed by the authorities, who are investigating the matter.  Saoirse, the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill - one of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's 11 children - was a student at Boston College and was expected to graduate in 2020, Fox News reported. 

After her death, a number of media outlets began calling her the latest victim of the "Kennedy curse" that has plagued her family for decades and blamed for the string of unfortunate and untimely deaths of a number of members. 

Saoirse Kennedy Hill

The late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, former President John F. Kennedy's brother, referred to the curse on national television after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a car crash that killed campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969. Ted was at the wheel when he was driving Kopechne home after a late-night party on the Massachusetts island, Chappaquiddick, when the vehicle fell in a river. While Ted was able to swim ashore and walk back to his hotel, Kopechne got trapped inside the vehicle and died. 

The tragedy followed Ted throughout his political career, for which he received a two-month suspended sentence. 

"All kinds of scrambled thoughts... went through my mind... including such questions as... whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys," he said after the conclusion of his trial, CNN reported. 

Many mulled over his words at the time, wondering if the curse was real. Here is a list of tragic deaths that befell the Kennedy family:


To start with, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by a gunman in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Senator Edward Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, (aged 6), Jackie Kennedy (1929 - 1994), Attorney General Robert Kennedy and John Kennedy (1960 - 1999) (aged 3).


Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot just five years later after he had won the California presidential primary.

Plane crashes

JFK's son, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette were killed in a 1999 small plane crash off Massachusetts. Joe Kennedy Jr., President Kennedy's eldest brother, died in 1944 after volunteering to pilot in a World War II bombing mission in France, which was occupied by the Nazis.

In 1948, JFK's sister, Kathleen Kennedy, and three others died when their small plane, which was flying in a storm, crashed in France. She was 28 years old then. 

Drug overdose

At the same age as Kathleen, David Kennedy, one of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy's 11 children, died in Palm Beach, Florida, of a drug overdose in 1984. 

Ski accident

Michael Kennedy, Robert's son and a father of three, died in a ski accident in Aspen, Colorado,  at the age of 39 on New Year's Eve, 1997.  He was tossing a football with relatives while skiing down a mountain.

Birth defect

President Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy's third child, Patrick was born in 1963 with a lung condition and experienced difficulty breathing. Weighing just under five pounds during his birth, Patrick survived for less than two days. He was buried in the family gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.


After his father lost the battle with cancer in 2009, Ted Kennedy's son, Edward Jr. said, "My father taught me that even our most profound losses are survivable, and it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event — that is one of my father's greatest lessons."

In the same year, he and his brother, Patrick, went on national television and told the world that they did not believe that the "Kennedy curse" existed. 

"No. No. Obviously my dad had a sense of spirituality that transcended his ability to face these problems, you know, in a way that would have otherwise paralyzed the normal person," Patrick said. Edward Jr. added, "The Kennedy family has had to endure these things in a very open way. But our family is just like... every other family in America in many ways."

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