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Maeve Kennedy McKean (1979–2020), Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter

by Linnea Crowther

Maeve Kennedy McKean was the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy (1925 – 1968) and a public health official who was the first senior advisor for human rights in the U.S. Department of State’s global AIDS program under President Barack Obama.

  • Died: April 2, 2020 (Who else died on April 2?)
  • Details of death: Presumed dead in a canoeing accident in Shady Side, Maryland at the age of 40. Her son, Gideon, is also presumed dead at age 8.
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Family and career

McKean was a member of the Kennedy political dynasty, the granddaughter of Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy, and the daughter of former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and David Townsend. She was related by marriage to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose ex-wife was McKean’s aunt. In addition to her position in the Obama administration, McKean once worked for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She was also the executive director of Georgetown University’s Global Health Initiative.

What people said about her

“My heart is crushed, yet we shall try to summon the grace of God and what strength we have to honor the hope, energy and passion that Maeve and Gideon set forth into the world.” —Kathleen Kennedy Townsend


“We love you Maeve. We love you Gideon. Our family has lost two of the brightest lights. Grateful for your prayers. Hold your loved ones tight.” —U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III

Full obituary:The Boston Globe

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