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Jean Kennedy Smith Dead: Former Ambassador to Ireland and Last Surviving JFK Sibling Dies at 92

Jean Kennedy Smith, a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and the last surviving sibling of John F. Kennedy, died on Wednesday, June 17. She was 92.

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Her daughter Kym Smith confirmed to The New York Times that Kennedy Smith died at her Manhattan home. The cause of death was not specified.

Kennedy Smith was the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.K., and Rose Kennedy, Countess of the Holy Roman Church. Her siblings included former president JFK and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated, as well as former senator Ted Kennedy and the late Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

John F. Kennedy Jean Kennedy Smith
President John F. Kennedy and his sister Jean Kennedy Smith in 1961. Anonymous/AP/Shutterstock

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Kennedy Smith, who was born in Boston, graduated from Manhattanville College in 1949 and went on to work on her brother John’s 1952 Senate campaign and 1960 presidential campaign. In 1963, she stepped in for Jacqueline Kennedy, who was traveling at the time, to cohost a state dinner for Ireland’s president.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Kennedy Smith the ambassador to Ireland. She called her ‘60s-era trip to the island “one of the most moving experiences” of her life during her confirmation hearing.

As ambassador, Kennedy Smith played a pivotal role in ending decades of violence in Northern Ireland by paving the way for a formal peace agreement. She retired from her role in 1998 and was later honored with Irish citizenship for her service to the nation.

Jean Kennedy Smith Former Ambassador to Ireland and Last Surviving JFK Sibling Dies at 92
Jean Kennedy Smith Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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In addition to her diplomacy, Kennedy Smith was known for founding VSA, a nonprofit organization that supports young artists and educators with disabilities. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 for her work with VSA.

Kennedy Smith was married to financial analyst and political strategist Stephen Edward Smith from 1956 until his death in 1990. They had four children: Stephen Edward Smith Jr., William Kennedy Smith, Amanda Smith and Kym.

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