Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who emerged from a powerful male-dominated political family to found the Special Olympics and become a leading advocate of the mentally disabled, died on Tuesday at the age of 88.Condolences to her family and friends.
Shriver, the sister of former President John F. Kennedy, died about 2 a.m./0600 GMT at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, the Massachusetts town on Cape Cod synonymous with the Kennedy dynasty.
"Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe and they in turn are her living legacy," her family said in a statement.
U.S. President Barack Obama praised Shriver's Special Olympics work and called her "an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation -- and our world -- that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit." [...]
She was born July 10, 1921, the middle child of the nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and his wife, Rose.
As a child, she wanted to compete athletically against her brothers, including John, elected president in 1960 and assassinated in 1963; Robert, a New York senator whose presidential bid ended with his assassination in 1968; and Edward, who has served as a senator from Massachusetts for more than 45 years. [...]
Edward Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, said in a statement that even as a child his sister had a "boundless passion to make a difference."
"Though the Special Olympics will be her enduring monument, in our family she'll be remembered as a loyal and loving sister, a treasured wife to Sarge, and a wonderful mother and grandmother," he said.