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August 11th, 2009
07:05 AM ET

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies

[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."

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Filed under: Politics
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. joe

    Well at least she got to enjoy a long life thanks to the health care plan Mr. Obama wants to take away from our children

    August 11, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  2. Chayce

    I can't believe she died. I knew her time was coming, and when she was hospitalized I knew she was gonna die within a few days. It's sad to see her gone afer all the things she's done for the entire world. There will never be another Eunice Shriver and she will be greatly missed by me, and many around the world.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:46 am |