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Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, dead at 88


Latest update : 2009-08-11

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics to foster fitness among the handicapped, has died at the age of 88. Eunice was the sister of former US President John F. Kennedy, former Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

REUTERS - Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics and is a member of one of the most prominent American political families of the 20th century, died on Tuesday at the age of 88.


Her family said in a statement that Shriver, had died after she was hospitalized in Hyannis, the Massachusetts town on Cape Cod synonymous with the Kennedy dynasty.


"Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe and they in turn are her living legacy," the family said referring to her work with the disabled.


She is survived by her husband, Sargent Shriver.


Shriver was the middle child of nine born to Joseph P. Kennedy and his wife, Rose.


Her siblings include John F. Kennedy, who was elected president in 1960 and assassinated in 1963, Robert, a New York senator whose presidential bid ended when he was assassinated in 1968, and Senator Edward Kennedy.


Edward Kennedy, battling brain cancer diagnosed in May 2008, is considered a lion of the Democratic Party because of his decades-long fight for liberal causes that include healthcare reform.


Shriver's children include Maria, a former television journalist who married California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Shriver started the Special Olympics Games in 1968 to foster fitness and self-esteem for those with mental retardation and advocated in Washington for her cause well into her eighties. The event has grown to include 190 nations.


Her concern for the mentally handicapped was attributed to her relationship with older sister Rosemary, who was said to have been mildly retarded and spent the majority of her life in a long-term care facility after a lobotomy.


Date created : 2009-08-11