Cause of Death Revealed for Saoirse Kennedy Hill

November 1, 2019 Updated: November 1, 2019

The granddaughter of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, died of an accidental drug overdose, it was reported Friday.

The Boston Herald and WCVB-TV reported that Hill, 22, had methadone, fluoxetine, norfluoxetine, diazepam, nordiazepam, and alcohol in her system at the time of her death in August.

Hill was found unresponsive at a Kennedy compound in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Aug. 1. She was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The Barnstable City Clerk’s Office told local media outlets that her official cause of death is now public. It also was filed by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

She was the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s fifth child, Courtney Kennedy, and Paul Hill. Reports said she was slated to start her final year at Boston College.

Years before her death, Hill had written about her struggles with mental health and said she tried to kill herself while in high school.

A flag flies at half-staff at the Kennedy compound a day after Saoirse Kennedy Hill died at age 22, in Hyannis Port, Mass., on Aug. 2, 2019. (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

“My depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life. Although I was mostly a happy child, I suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest,” she wrote at the time.

Her cousin, Timmy Shriver, said during her funeral that the Kennedy political family is “not afraid to cry anymore, and thank goodness we’re making up for lost time.”

“We prize bravery here. But these few days have been all about facing our pain. It may be the bravest thing we can do. She’s changing us, what no other member of our family could do. She softened this place and opened us to one another. … She is our wounded healer,” Shriver said, according to the Herald.

Saoirse Kennedy Hill poses for a family group photo with her mother Courtney Kennedy Hill on Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

“Saoirse was fierce, both in her love for her family and yearning for justice,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Instagram after her death, calling her “a fearless adventurer, she inspired curiosity and daring in her friends. But her greatest gift was to find humor in everything and to give us all the gift of her laughter – and our own.”

In a statement after she died, the Kennedy family said they were “shattered.”

“Her life was filled with hope, promise, and love,” the family said. “She cared deeply about friends and family, especially her mother Courtney, her father Paul, her stepmother Stephanie, and her grandmother Ethel,” according to People magazine.

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