Saoirse Kennedy Hill Cause of Death Revealed to Be Accidental Overdose

Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the 22-year-old granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, died from an accidental overdose, officials said Friday. Hill died on Aug. 1, before she was set to start her senior year at Boston College. She was the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's daughter Courtney and Paul Michael Hill.

Her cause of death was listed as "acute methadone and ethanol toxicity in combination with other prescription medications," reports PEOPLE.

According to the death certificate, obtained by WCVB, the toxicology test found methadone, fluoxetine, norfluoxetine, diazepam, nordiazepam and alcohol in her system.

Hill was found unresponsive at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts. She was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office. The office is investigating her death.

"Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise and love," her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said in a statement through his spokesman in August. "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 world is a little less beautiful today," her grandmother, Ethel, now 91, added in the statement.

Hill was a communication major at Boston College. She openly discussed her battle with depression and mental illness in an essay for the Deerfield Academy newspaper three years before her death. She revealed she attempted suicide during her time at the school.

"My depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life. Although I was mostly a happy child, I suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest," she wrote in 2016. "These bouts would come and go, but they did not outwardly affect me until I was a new sophomore at Deerfield."

At the end of her essay, Hill wrote, "Many people are suffering, but because many people feel uncomfortable talking about it, no one is aware of the sufferers. This leaves people feeling even more alone. Since I spoke about this issue at school meeting, I have had countless people approach me, telling me that they, too, are struggling and would love to be more open about it. I am calling all members of the Deerfield community to come forward and talk freely about mental health issues. We are all either struggling or know someone who is battling an illness; let's come together to make our community more inclusive and comfortable."

During her time at the private school, Hill helped start the Deerfield Students Against Sexual Assault. She also attended the March for Our Lives rally in 2018 and was the vice president of College Democrats at Boston College.


"In classes she was often the first student to offer an opinion on readings that demanded clear critique about the challenges of contemporary society," Marcus Breen, one of Hill's professors at BC, told the New York Times.

Photo credit: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images