JFK's Last Surviving Sibling, Former Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Dies at 92

JFK's Last Surviving Sibling, Former Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Dies at 92

Kym Smith, one of Jean's two daughters, said "she lived an amazing life."

Image Source: Twitter/JFK Library

Jean Kennedy Smith, Former President John F Kennedy's last surviving sibling, and Ireland's former ambassador died at the age of 92 on Wednesday night in her New York City apartment, according to PEOPLE. The cause of death is yet to be revealed. Smith was the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy, according to CBS News. Her siblings included older brother Joseph Kennedy Jr., who was killed in action during World War II; Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy, who died in a plane crash in 1948;  Senator Robert F. Kennedy, slain in 1968. Senator Edward Kennedy, the youngest of the Kennedy siblings, died of brain cancer in August 2009, the same month their sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver died.


Of course, there's the former President, who was assassinated in 1963, Sadly, Smith outlived all her siblings by decades. Kym Smith, one of Jean's two daughters, said "she lived an amazing life." "She was so generous, and she had a kind heart," with a real sense of humor, Kym says. She says she saw her mother only last week for dinner. "I personally was really lucky to spend so much time with her the last few years." She also added that Jean was not alone when she died, though she declined to say more, referring to family privacy. Kym says she and Jean "had a special bond. ... She always lit up when she saw me, and I got to spend a lot of time with her."


"I would come up to New York a few times a month and spend time with her and tell her what a great mother she was," Kym says. "I thanked her for adopting me and giving me the best life." Smith married the Kennedy family's financial adviser and future White House chief of staff Stephen Edward Smith in 1956. She was known as the quiet sister who shunned the spotlight for most of her life. In 2016, she wrote a memoir The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy, where she wrote about her life and her family. She wrote that for a long time during her childhood, she thought her life was "unexceptional."


"It is hard for me to fully comprehend that I was growing up with brothers who eventually occupy the highest offices of our nation, including president of the United States,” Jean wrote, according to the Associated Press.  β€œAt the time, they were simply my playmates. They were the source of my amusement and the objects of my admiration." Jean's daughter added: "She spoke about them [her siblings] all the time and how close they all were." Smith loved her family, though it was a rather large one, and she wrote in her memoir: "Certainly a distinct characteristic of our family was its size. A child in a big family constantly feels surrounded and supported."


"For me, there was always someone to play with or someone to talk to just around the corner, out on the porch, or in the next bedroom. I never felt alone." Jean outlived her husband, too, who died in 1990. A spokesperson for then-Sen. Ted Kennedy said at the time of his death that Stephen was a member of the family "from the day he married Jean." "Steve was like a brother in our family. He was the wisest adviser, the most skillful campaign manager, and the best friend that any of us ever had," the rep said at the time. "There wouldn’t have been a Camelot without Steve Smith." Jean and Stephen were parents to four children: sons Stephen Jr. and William and daughters Amanda and Kym. 


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