The Kennedys: a family haunted by tragedy, misfortune and controversy

A chronology

The Kennedy family is one of the most visible in the United States, and has encountered a series of misfortunes. The following is a chronology of the accidents and deaths in the family:

1941 – Rosemary Kennedy: Daughter of Joseph and Rose. Institutionalised since 1941 because of an intellectual disability and failed lobotomy.

1944 – Joseph Kennedy Jr: Son of Joseph and Rose. Killed in plane crash in in second World War, aged 29.

1948 – Kathleen Kennedy: Daughter of Joseph and Rose. Died in plane crash. She was 28.


1963 – John F Kennedy: Son of Joseph and Rose, 35th US president. Assassinated in Dallas on November 22nd. He was 46.

1963 – Patrick Bouvier Kennedy: Born prematurely to President Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, died three months before his father's assassination.

1968 – Robert Kennedy: President's brother, assassinated in Los Angeles on June 5th. He was 42.

1969 – Edward Kennedy: Brother of John and Robert, drove a car off a bridge on Massachusetts's Chappaquiddick Island on July 18th, after a party. Aide Mary Jo Kopechne was later found dead in submerged car.

1973 – Joseph Kennedy: Son of Robert and Ethel. Involved in car accident that left a female passenger paralysed for life.

1973 – Edward Kennedy Jr: Son of Edward and Joan. Right leg amputated in because of cancer.

1984 – David Kennedy: Son of Robert and Ethel. Died of a drug overdose in a hotel near family vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida.

1986 – Patrick Kennedy: Son of Edward and Joan. Now a Congressman, sought treatment for cocaine addiction as a teenager in 1986.

1991 – William Kennedy Smith: Nephew of Edward. Acquitted of rape at the family's Palm Beach estate.

1997 – Michael Kennedy: Son of Robert and Ethel. Accused of having affair with his family's teenage babysitter. Killed on New Year's Eve in a skiing accident at Aspen, Colorado. He was 39.

1999 – John F Kennedy jnr: Son of the president, he was killed in 1999 when the airplane he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard; his wife and sister-in-law were on board and were also killed.

2019 – Saoirse Kennedy Hill: Granddaughter of Robert Kennedy and daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill. The 22-year-old found dead on August 1st after suffering an apparent overdose at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

– New York Times service