August 11th, 2009
08:23 AM ET
5 years ago

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88

Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaks at a dinner in honor of the Special Olympics in July 2006.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaks at a dinner in honor of the Special Olympics in July 2006.

(CNN) - Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and a champion of the disabled who founded the Special Olympics, died Tuesday, the Special Olympics said. She was 88.

Born on July 10, 1921, in Brookline, Massachusetts, Shriver was the fifth of nine children to Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. She emerged from the long shadow of siblings John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as the founder of the Special Olympics, which started as a summer day camp in her backyard in 1962.

Today, 3.1 million people with mental disabilities participate in 228 programs in 170 nations, according to the Special Olympics.

"She was the light of our lives, a mother, wife, grandmother, sister and aunt who taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others," the Shriver family said Tuesday in a statement.

"For each of us, she often seemed to stop time itself - to run another Special Olympics Games, to visit us in our homes, to attend to her own mother, her sisters and brothers, and to sail, tell stories, and laugh and serve her friends."

No final decision has been made on funeral arrangements, a source close to the family said.

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. dominican mama 4 Obama

    The founder of the Special Olympics has gone to her rest. May she rest in peace.

    August 11, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. Lisa, NH

    She was a great lady. May she rest in peace.

    August 11, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Expat American

    Such a good lady. This is sad news. Her work with the Special Olympics could not be more admirable.

    August 11, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a beacon of light for thousands of handicapped individuals and she helped provide a venue to showcase their athletic abilities. She helped lift their spirits and self esteem. I knew a person who went to the Special Olympics and I remember the pride and joy he had displaying his medals to everyone at school and it was pure, real joy. Heaven has received another angel.

    August 11, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Shari, NY

    RIP! My condolences to her family.

    August 11, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. katiec

    She was a wonderful, caring and giving woman.
    She did so much for the understanding , accepting and bettering the lives of those with special needs.

    August 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. carlo

    The Special Olympics was truly her gift to our society. It gives so much joy to the disabled. Rest in peace Ms. Shriver.

    August 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. S Callahan

    When I think of "Eu" it reminds me of the possiblities that lies within each of us if we truely seek to make a difference in this world. Who would have known that her work would have impacted me in the mid 80's when I had a child born with disablities..because of her earlier tireless work, my child was able to rise above the obstacles that were before her both physically and through society....Proudly I rejoice she is near completion of her college degree and has overcome those obstacles. Thank You Eu...just one voice made such a difference for so many on this earth... I can only surmise that you have been greeted with many angels rejoicing of another joining there team for the return of the Lord to this great earth. ! Well done good and faithful servant...enjoy your rest!

    August 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. aCorNN watchdog

    She was a nice lady

    August 11, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. Lauren

    My condolences to the Kennedy and Shriver family.

    August 11, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. GI Joe

    She has done some very remarkable things in her lifetime. I'm sure she will be missed.

    August 11, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. white female

    My prayers, and heart goes out to this Fine Family.
    May God Bless and keep them, She was a great human being.
    To the Kennedy Family, hug and kiss each other, show them as you'll have always done that BLOOD IS THICKIER THAN WATER.
    May God Bless and keep you'll through this.

    August 11, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Travis In Colorado

    My prayers and sympathies go out to the entire Kennedy and Shriver family at this difficult time.

    August 11, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. kgeukes

    God bless the Kennedy family.

    August 11, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Renee

    RIP

    August 11, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Kimberly in Oregon

    What an extaordinary woman. I wish I had known more about her when she was alive. I plan on learning about her now. Michelle Obama reminds me of her, all the charity work and good will. I had no idea she founded the Special Olympics. What a family the Kennedys are.

    August 11, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. M-AZ

    Condolences to the Kennedy & Shriver families.

    Lady Eunice had a big heart; may she rest in peace!

    August 11, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |