Saoirse Kennedy Hill, a granddaughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has died from a suspected drug overdose. The 22-year-old was found unresponsive at the Kennedy family’s Cape Cod compound on Thursday afternoon. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The family released a statement, which reads in part: “Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise, and love.”
The statement did not include a cause of death.
Saoirse was the only daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill and Paul Hill, and the granddaughter of Ethel Kennedy. She never met her famous grandfather, the NY senator and Democratic presidential candidate who was assassinated in 1968.
According to People.com, Saoirse suffered from clinical depression and was hospitalized for a year while attending a private Massachusetts prep school.
In 2016, then-19-year-old Saoirse penned an essay for the student newspaper about her battle with depression.
“My depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life,” Saoirse wrote. “Although I was mostly a happy child, I suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest.”
She wrote about her wish for more open communication about mental health. She complained that the federally mandated HIPAA law made it difficult for her doctors to share her diagnosis with her school.
“HIPAA was designed to protect patient privacy, yet in my experience, it left me feeling very much alone,” Saoirse wrote. “In the future, I hope that the Health Center reaches out to students before they return from medical leave in order to discuss how the school can make their adjustment back to Deerfield less difficult. If they had reached out to me, I would have let them know that I wanted my circumstances shared with my teachers and advisors before I returned to campus; this would have made my transition back a lot easier.”
Saoirse’s friends and associates remembered her in social media tributes on Friday.
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One of my favorite memories of Saoirse Kennedy-Hill was the day I took my yoga class from Deerfield Academy for a community service activity at my son's elementary school. My son rode back to DA with us and sat with Saoirse on the bus. They laughed and joked with each other, and it was her keen wit that made me laugh on a regular basis. I can't believe she is gone. My heart breaks for her family and friends. #saoirsekennedyhill #gonetoosoon