For generations, the Kennedy family has experienced probably the greatest political success of any family in the U.S. - and has suffered more than its share of tragic misfortune. While the family's successes over the decades have been extraordinary, it's the tragedies, each new one evoking memories of the last, that are woven into the Kennedy myth. Some have even gone on to call it the Kennedy curse.
Rosemary Kennedy: 1918-2005
In 1941, the third child and eldest daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy is institutionalized because of retardation and a failed full-frontal lobotomy. She dies in 2005 at age 86.
Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.: 1915-1944
The eldest son of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, is killed on Aug. 12, 1944, at age 29 when his plane explodes over the English Channel while on a secret World War II bombing mission.
Kathleen Kennedy: 1920-1948
The second daughter and fourth child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy dies on May 13, 1948, at age 28 with her lover when a small plane crashes in the south of France. Her husband, William Cavendish, the Marquess of Hartington, a member of the British army, died in combat.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
The third child of John and Jacqueline Kennedy is born nearly six weeks premature on Aug. 7, 1963. He dies two days later of respiratory ailments.
John F. Kennedy: 1917-1963
The 35th president of the United States is assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, during a motorcade in Dallas.
Edward M. Kennedy
The Massachusetts senator, and youngest of the Kennedy children, suffers a broken back in a plane crash on June 19, 1964, that kills his aide and the pilot.
Robert F. Kennedy: 1925-1968
The U.S. attorney general is assassinated in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, following his victory in the California Democratic presidential primary. He was 42.
Edward M. Kennedy
The senator's dreams of a presidential bid are dashed when he drives a car off a bridge on Massachusetts' Chappaquiddick Island after a party on July 18, 1969. Aide Mary Jo Kopechne is later found dead in the submerged car.
Edward M. Kennedy Jr.
The second of Edward and Joan Kennedy's three children loses his right leg due to bone cancer on Nov. 17, 1973, at the age of 12. In 1985, he founds Facing the Challenge, a nonprofit group devoted to people with physical and mental disabilities.
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II
In 1973, the second of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's 11 children is involved in a car accident that leaves a female passenger paralyzed for life.
David Anthony Kennedy: 1955-1984
The fourth of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's 11 children dies of a heroin overdose on April 25, 1984, in a hotel near a family vacation home in Palm Beach, Fla.
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II
In 1986, the son of Edward and Joan Kennedy, seeks treatment for cocaine addiction as a teenager. In 2006 and again on June 12, 2009, the U.S. Representative from Rhode Island announced that "he has checked into a medical facility for treatment."
William Kennedy Smith
In 1991, the son of Jean Kennedy and Stephen Smith is accused of raping a woman at the family's Palm Beach estate. He is acquitted later that year.
Michael Lemoyne Kennedy: 1958--1997
The sixth of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's 11 children, who was accused of having an affair with his family's teenage baby sitter, was killed in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colo., on Dec. 31, 1997. He was 39.
John F. Kennedy Jr.: 1960-1999
1999: The son of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her older sister, Lauren Bessette, are killed when the single-engine plane John was piloting crashes off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
Sen. Edward Kennedy
One of American politics' most enduring figures, is diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Tests were conducted after the 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat had a seizure at his home on Cape Cod.