The Kennedy family is mourning the loss of 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill, who was found dead at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, on Thursday.
The Boston College student was the daughter of Paul Michael Hill and Courtney Kennedy, the fifth of the 11 children of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968.
On Friday, family members took to social media to mourn Hill’s death.
Maria Shriver, Hill's cousin once removed, posted on Instagram that "a brave young woman left our world yesterday."
"She left a gaping hole in the lives of all those who loved her dearly," said Shriver, the daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, one of Robert F. Kennedy's sisters. "May God bless her. May God hold her parents during this unbearable hour and give them the strength to make it thru. Amen."
Shriver added in the caption: "Life is fragile and heartbreaking. It turns upside down in a minute. Love your children, hold them tight. Love your family, hold them close. Love your friends, keep them near. Be gentle with others, as so many are fragile and struggling. Actually, I think it’s best to assume everyone is struggling, so treat everyone with love, tenderness, and compassion."
Patrick J. Kennedy, Hill’s uncle and a former U.S. representative, tweeted about her. “Saoirse will always remain in our hearts,” Kennedy, an outspoken advocate for substance abuse and mental health treatment, wrote. “She is loved and will be deeply missed.”
In a subsequent thread, he shared an essay Hill penned in 2016 about her experience dealing with depression. "Saoirse’s sincere account of her depression is a powerful reminder of how so many people suffer alone and feel isolated," he wrote. "I am proud Saoirse was able to be open and tell her story. I encourage everyone to read her words."
Hill's aunt Kerry Kennedy tweeted, “We love you Saoirse,” and posted several pictures of her on Instagram.
"Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse," she wrote in one caption. "Her life was filled with hope, promise and love."
She added: "She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit. Saoirse was passionately moved by the causes of human rights and women’s empowerment and found great joy in volunteer work, working alongside indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico. We will love her and miss her forever."
The Kennedy family wrote in a statement to NBC News that Hill "lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit. We will love her and miss her forever."
Hill died of an apparent drug overdose, two relatives told The New York Times. NBC News has not confirmed this report.