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Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter wrote moving essay about her struggle with depression

Her grandmother Ethel Kennedy said in a statement Thursday night, "the world is a little less beautiful today."
Saoirse Kennedy Hill (CNN)

The Kennedy family is once again grappling with unimaginable loss. Saoirse Kennedy Hill, a granddaughter of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, died Thursday at the family compound on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Police are investigating but a cause of death has not been announced.

The 22-year-old Boston College student was set to graduate next year. Her grandmother Ethel Kennedy said in a statement Thursday night, "the world is a little less beautiful today."

Saoirse made headlines in 2007, when she was just 10 years old, after she was allegedly the victim of an abduction attempt. According to an article in People Magazine, she was walking home from playing tennis in Cape Cod, when a white van with two men inside pulled up beside her. She ran away.

In an op-ed for her high school publication nearly a decade later, Saoirse described a struggle with mental illness. "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. These bouts would come and go, but they did not outwardly affect me until I was a new sophomore at Deerfield," she wrote. She describes her decision to take a leave of absence from school to get treatment, and encourages others to be open about their struggles.

Police and paramedics swarmed the usually quiet, affluent Massachusetts beach town Thursday after being called to a home owned by Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy.

The Hyannis Port compound has been home to multiple members of the Kennedy family dynasty including President John F. Kennedy, who famously used it as a summer White House. It consists of three homes and is located on six acres of land along Nantucket Sound. In a 2014 Twitter post, Saoirse wrote, that her favorite place to vacation, is Hyannis Port.

Saoirse was the vice president of the College Democrats at Boston College where she was a student. Her family says she was "passionately moved by the causes of human rights and women's empowerment and found great joy in volunteer work."

The Kennedy family said in a statement, their "hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse" and said "her life was filled with hope, promise and love." They added, "we will love her and miss her forever."