The family of Eunice Kennedy Shriver tells the Associated Press that the 88-year-old sister of John F. Kennedy, died early Tuesday at Cape Cod Hospital in Barnstable. Members of her family had been gathered at her bedside since she was hospitalized last week.
Shriver had been weakened in recent years by a series of strokes. She lived in Hyannis Port, near the family compound where her brother, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, has been staying as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer. Shriver was the fifth of the nine Kennedy children.
A family spokesman said that her husband, children and grandchildren had been with her throughout the week. Her son-in-law, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was also at the hospital last week.
In a recent interview posted on eunicekennedyshriver.org, Sen. Kennedy said his sister has never backed down from the rest of competive clan.
"She always strived to be the best, and she in many respects has made such an extraordinary difference in the lives of so many people around the world," he said.
Shriver is perhaps best known for her work to establish the Special Olympics, inspired in part by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary.