[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/11/kennedy.eunice.gi.art.jpg caption="Special Olympics founder and Honorary Chairperson Eunice Kennedy Shriver waves during the party for the 'Faces Of Sport' party benefiting the Special Olympics on April 29, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California."]
(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 in 170 nations, according to the Special Olympics.
Shriver's husband, R. Sargent Shriver, and her five children and their spouses and all of her 19 grandchildren were with her when she died, the Special Olympics said in a statement.
"We are tremendously grateful for the extreme outpouring of support and prayer from the public as we honor our beloved founder," Special Olympics President and Chief Operation Officer Brady Lum said Tuesday in a statement.
"Today we celebrate the life of a woman who had the vision to create our movement. It is an enormous loss, but I know we can rest assured that her legacy will live on through her family, friends, and the millions of people around the world who she touched and transformed."