Rest in peace. Jean Kennedy Smith, President John F. Kennedy‘s last surviving sibling, died on Wednesday, June 17, at age 92, her daughter Kym Smith confirms.
“She lived an amazing life,” Kym told NBC News about her beloved family member. Smith, who was the youngest sister of the Kennedy clan, was an activist, humanitarian and diplomat. Between 1993 and 1998, she served as a U.S ambassador to Ireland and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011.
“Jean may well be the best politician of all the Kennedys,” historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. once said of her work as ambassador.
In October 2016, Smith published her first book, The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy, where she talked about her famous childhood. “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 wrote. “At the time, they were simply my playmates. They were the source of my amusement and the objects of my admiration.”
Out of all of her siblings, Rose Kennedy said Smith was probably the closest to her brother Edward. In her memoir, Times to Remember, she said the duo “were a pair” who “trotted around together.” Even though they got into arguments, Smith’s younger bro always saw her as his “valiant friend and big sister.”
In fact, it was Edward who got Smith her ambassador’s job during the Clinton administration. Thanks to her work there, Smith was awarded honorary citizenship by Ireland’s government in 1998 and 2007. She was also inducted into Irish America magazine’s Irish America Hall of Fame and was given the Gold Medal Award from the Éire Society of Boston.
“I was part of the tide,” she once told the Boston Globe about her family’s impact on the world. “I really didn’t think of it as a Kennedy thing. I thought of it as a moment. A moment in history.”
Smith is survived by her four kids, Kym, Amanda, William and Stephen Jr.