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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oldest child of late Sen. Ted Kennedy dies at 51

Kara Kennedy, the oldest child of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, died suddenly Friday evening at a Washington-area health club, NBC News reported.

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy confirmed the death of his 51-year-old sister, adding "she's with dad."

Kara Kennedy had herself battled lung cancer: In 2003, doctors removed a malignant tumor. Patrick Kennedy said that his sister loved to exercise, but that he thinks her cancer treatment "took quite a toll on her and weakened her physically."

"Her heart gave out," he said.

Kara Kennedy was the oldest of three children. She and her brother Edward Kennedy Jr. helped run their father's U.S. Senate campaign in 1988. The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome lists her as a national advisory board member on its website.

Edward Kennedy Jr. himself was a survivor after losing a leg to bone cancer as a child. And Patrick Kennedy had surgery in 1988 to remove a non-cancerous tumor that was pressing against his spine.

In 1990, Kara Kennedy married Michael Allen. The couple have two children: Max Greathouse Allen, 15, and daughter, Grace Kennedy Allen, 16.

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