Kennedy Sister Eunice Shriver Dead at 88

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 6:05 AM CDT
In this Aug. 21, 1964 file photo, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is shown swimming with youngsters in a pool at the day camp for mentally challenged children in Fairmount Park at Philadelphia.    (AP Photo, File)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) – Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the 88-year-old sister of John F. Kennedy and the founder of the Special Olympics, died at Cape Cod Hospital early today, the Wall Street Journal reports. Shriver had been in critical condition for a week. Inspired by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister Rosemary, Shriver spent much of her life championing the rights of the disabled. The devoutly religious Catholic also often campaigned on behalf of her brothers.

"If that girl had been born with balls, she would have been a hell of a politician," her father once said. "She raised me to believe you are as good as the boys, as tough and as competitive as the boys, and you need to do something to help the world," her daughter Maria Shriver said recently. Sen. Ted Kennedy and Jean Kennedy Smith are now the sole surviving siblings from Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's nine children.