Robert F Kennedy's granddaughter dies at family compound

Reports quote family friends as saying 22-year-old's death was caused by an overdose

FILE - This Aug. 27, 2009 file photo shows the main home in the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, has died at the age of 22. The Kennedy family released a statement on Thursday night, Aug. 1, 2019, following reports of a death at the family's compound in Hyannis Port. Hill was the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's fifth child, Courtney, and Paul Michael Hill. (AP Photo/Stew Milne, File)
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A 22-year-old granddaughter of the late Robert F Kennedy died on Thursday following an apparent overdose at the family's compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, the latest in a long series tragedies to beset one of America's leading political dynasties.

Saoirse Kennedy Hill was at the compound, the home of her grandmother, Ethel Kennedy, 91, when emergency personnel were called Thursday afternoon to the residence, and she was taken to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, the New York Times reported, citing family and friends.

The Kennedy family released a statement confirming the young woman's death.

"Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse," the statement said. "Her life was filled with hope, promise and love."

The New York Times cited two unnamed people described as close to the family as saying that Hill had apparently suffered an overdose.

Hill was a student at Boston College, where she was a communications major and vice president of the Student Democrats, according to the Times.

The newspaper said she had written about struggling with mental illness while a student at a private preparatory school in Massachusetts, the Deerfield Academy, in 2016.

She was the only child of Paul Michael Hill and Courtney Kennedy Hill, who was the fifth of 11 children of Ethel and Robert Kennedy.

Ethel Kennedy has endured a series of tragedies that have befallen her extended family, including the assassination of her husband, then a US senator for New York, who was shot to death in Los Angeles just after winning the California primary race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968.

Two of Robert and Ethel's sons suffered untimely deaths – David, of a drug overdose in 1984 at age 28 and Michael in 1997 at age 39.

Robert's older brother, President John F Kennedy, was assassinated five years earlier in Dallas, and his son, John Jr, died with his wife and sister-in-law when the plane he was piloting crashed in the Atlantic off Martha's Vineyard, not far from Hyannis Port.

Hill's death comes weeks after the 50th anniversary of the scandal surrounding a fatal car accident in which Robert's younger brother, then-senator Edward Kennedy, drove off a bridge connecting the tiny island of Chappaquiddick to Martha's Vineyard, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.

The murky circumstances of that crash effectively dashed Edward Kennedy's presidential ambitions.