(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.