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Jean Kennedy Smith, Last Surviving Sibling Of JFK, Dies

In this Jan. 20, 2011 file photo, Jean Kennedy Smith attends a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
In this Jan. 20, 2011 file photo, Jean Kennedy Smith attends a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving sibling of President John F. Kennedy and a former ambassador to Ireland, died Wednesday, her daughter confirmed to The New York Times. She was 92.

Smith died at her home in Manhattan, her daughter Kym told the Times.

Smith was the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy, and tragically several of them preceded her in death by decades. Her siblings included older brother Joseph Kennedy Jr., killed in action during World War II; Kathleen “Kick’ Kennedy, who died in a 1948 plane crash; the president, assassinated in 1963 and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, slain in 1968. Sen. Edward Kennedy, the youngest of the Kennedy siblings, died of brain cancer in August 2009, the same month their sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver died.

In this Dec. 12, 1979 file photo, members of the Kennedy family pose at a fund raising dinner at the Hotel Pierre in New York. From left: Steve Smith, Pat Lawford, Jackie Onassis, Jean Kennedy Smith, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and Steve Smith Jr. (Richard Drew/AP File)
In this Dec. 12, 1979 file photo, members of the Kennedy family pose at a fund raising dinner at the Hotel Pierre in New York. From left: Steve Smith, Pat Lawford, Jackie Onassis, Jean Kennedy Smith, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and Steve Smith Jr. (Richard Drew/AP File)

Smith, who married Kennedy family financial adviser and future White House chief of staff Stephen Edward Smith in 1956, was viewed for much of her life as a quiet sister who shunned the spotlight. In her memoir “The Nine of Us,” published in 2016, she wrote that for much of the time her childhood seemed “unexceptional.”

“It is hard for me to fully comprehend that I was growing up with brothers who eventually occupy the highest offices of our nation, including president of the United States,” she explained. “At the time, they were simply my playmates. They were the source of my amusement and the objects of my admiration.”

Though she never ran for office, she campaigned for her brothers, traveling the country for then-Sen. John F. Kennedy as he sought the presidency in 1960. In 1963, she stepped in for a traveling Jacqueline Kennedy and co-hosted a state dinner for Ireland’s president. The same year, she accompanied her brother — the first Irish Catholic president — on his famous visit to Ireland. Their great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, was from Dunganstown in County Wexford in southeastern Ireland.

In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama presents a Medal of Freedom to Jean Kennedy Smith during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama presents a Medal of Freedom to Jean Kennedy Smith during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Three decades later, she was appointed ambassador to Ireland by President Bill Clinton, who called her “as Irish as an American can be.”

During her confirmation hearing, she recalled the trip with her brother, describing it as “one of the most moving experiences of my own life.”

As ambassador, she played a role in the Northern Ireland peace process. She helped persuade Clinton to grant a controversial visa in 1994 to Gerry Adams, chief of the Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein party. The move defied the British government, which branded Adams as a terrorist.

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