The Kennedy Legacy

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The tragic story of David Kennedy (1955-1984)



Today, April 25th 2011, marks the 27th anniversary of David Kennedy’s death. David Anthony Kennedy was the fourth of eleven children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy.
On June 4, 1968, eleven days before his 13th birthday, David almost drowned while he and his siblings were swimming in the Pacific Ocean near the Malibu, California beach house of a Kennedy family friend.  David had been knocked over by a wave and was trapped on the bottom by the undertow. Senator Robert F. Kennedy dove under the water and rescued his son, scraping and bruising his own forehead in the process. David promised his father he return the favor someday.



At just after Midnight on June 5, David watched on TV as his father claimed victory in the California presidential primary election, then the 12-year-old listened in horror as the same broadcast reported the Senator’s assassination moments later. The event left an emotional scar on David. He began recreational drug use shortly thereafter.

David tried to combat his addictions many times. He completed a month-long stint at St. Mary’s Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis just before Easter 1984.  He flew down to Palm Beach, Florida on April 19, 1984 for Easter, where several members of the Kennedy family had gathered. David checked into room 107 of the Brazilian Court hotel and spent the next few days partying. At the insistence of concerned family members, staff went to check on his welfare and found David dead on the floor of his suite from an overdose of cocaine, Demerol and Mellaril on April 25, 1984.

David Kennedy was interred in the family plot at Holyhood Cemetery, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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