Kennedy's estranged wife hangs herself in barn near home
The estranged wife of Robert F Kennedy Jr has hanged herself in a barn behind the family's suburban New York estate.
A post-mortem last night revealed that mother-of-four Mary Kennedy (52) died from asphyxiation due to hanging.
It is understood she had left a suicide note, but its contents were not disclosed.
Her youngest child is just 11 and the eldest is 17 years old.
Mrs Kennedy had an ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol and on several occasions tried to seek help.
Her death came after several hard years for the family.
Her husband, Robert Kennedy Jr (58) a prominent environmental lawyer and the third-eldest of former US senator Robert F Kennedy's 11 children, had filed for a divorce in 2010. The two married in 1994.
A nephew of the late president John F Kennedy, he has been living in Los Angeles and dating TV star Cheryl Hines.
Donna Greene, a spokeswoman for the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office, confirmed she died of suffocation, but said the results of toxicology tests would not be ready for several months.
Mrs Kennedy was found hanging in a barn behind the family's home in the New York City suburb of Bedford on Wednesday.
"We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her," her family said yesterday in a statement released by her lawyer.
The couple's divorce had not been finalised, said Kerry Lawrence, a lawyer for Mrs Kennedy.