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Mary Kennedy remembered for devotion

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 12, 2012 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
Fifteen years ago, on July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, died in a plane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Her sister was also aboard the plane. The tragedies the Kennedy family has faced have become part of American history. Click through to see other moments of tribulation for the family. Fifteen years ago, on July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, died in a plane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Her sister was also aboard the plane. The tragedies the Kennedy family has faced have become part of American history. Click through to see other moments of tribulation for the family.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Private memorial service for Mary Kennedy was held in Bedford, New York
  • She was found dead from asphyxiation by hanging on Wednesday
  • She married Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 1994; they were estranged but still married

New York (CNN) -- Mary Richardson Kennedy was remembered Saturday as a best friend who lived life to the fullest while battling depression.

"She was brilliant and she was beautiful and she cared so very very deeply about everybody around her," said longtime friend and sister-in-law Kerry Kennedy. "She loved her children more than anything else."

Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was found dead Wednesday in Bedford, New York, the small town north of New York City where she lived. She died of asphyxiation due to hanging, the Westchester County medical examiner said.

Who was Mary Kennedy?

A private memorial service was held Saturday at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Bedford. Among those attending were Glenn Close, Chevy Chase, Susan Sarandon and Larry David.

Mary, 52, was buried near Hyannisport, Massachusetts, where the Kennedy family has a compound.

She married Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 1994. The prominent environmental lawyer is the third of 11 children born to Ethel and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was gunned down in 1968.

The assassination was one of a string of tragedies to befall the Kennedy family, America's royal family in the absence of monarchy. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, five years before his younger brother.

More than three decades later, in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr.; his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy; and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, died when a plane he was piloting crashed in the waters off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

David Kennedy died of a drug overdose in 1984, and Michael Kennedy was killed in a skiing accident in 1997. Both were sons of Robert F. Kennedy Sr.

The details of the couple's private life surfaced after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed for divorce in 2010. After that, Mary Kennedy was charged once with driving while intoxicated and once with driving while impaired by prescription drugs, according to Bedford police.

Her family criticized media accounts of her death for what they called "inaccuracies and misrepresentations" of her life.

Kerry Kennedy talked about Mary's depression.

"She was battling those demons," Kerry Kennedy said. "She was an angel who was brought to live with us here on Earth. God just brought her back up to heaven and said, 'You don't have to fight for me anymore.'"

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