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Eunice Kennedy Shriver Dies

By Lookout Staff

August 11, 2009 -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver -- the founder of the Special Olympics and mother of Santa Monica City Council member Bobby Shriver -- died early Tuesday morning, according to her son Bobby Shriver. She was 88.

Mrs. Shriver died at 2 a.m. at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, where she had been in the intensive care unit for more than a week. Mrs. Shriver had suffered a series of strokes in recent years.

"She passed at 2 am this morning.  An amazing life," Shriver wrote in an email to The Lookout.

The world press was watching, the pope is praying and the Kennedy clan was keeping vigil after it was reported that Mrs. Shriver was “minute to minute.”

Council member Shriver was among the family members who gathered at Mrs. Shriver's bedside.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the husband of Mrs. Shriver's daughter, Maria, pulled out of the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas to fly to Cape Cod to be with his extended family.

Council member Shriver's father, former vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, who is suffers from Alzheimer’s, also was at his ailing wife's bedside, according to AP reports.

Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers to the Kennedy and Shriver families Sunday.

The Vatican ambassador to the U.S. said in a letter released to AP Monday that the pope is "holding close to his heart Eunice as she is called home to eternal life."

"It is the Holy Father's fervent prayer that the good Lord, who is never outdone in generosity, will grant this woman of ardent faith and generous public service the reward of her many labors, particularly on behalf of those who are physically and mentally challenged," said Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the pope's representative in the United States.

A book well-wishers can sign and photographs of Shriver will be installed at the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, a spokesman for the Special Olympics said Monday.

Photographs depict Shriver sailing, skiing, and playing soccer with Special Olympics athletes, according to reports.

Correspondence from across the globe has been flooding in, a testament to the number of lives Shriver touched, said Kirsten Seckler, the spokeswoman for the Special Olympics.

"We've been forwarding all of the comments and e-mails and everything to (the family)," Seckler said. "They are overwhelmed with the amount of support."

Many of the messages are being posted on a tribute wall at EuniceKennedyShriver.org.

One writer said: "You are a brave, courageous lady with a good family. The things you've done are etched deep within the world's memory! I'm praying for your health. Thank you!"

Mrs. Shriver -- sister of President John F. Kennedy, former attorney general Robert Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy -- organized the first Special Olympics in 1968, inspired in part by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary.




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