Maria Shriver Opens Up about the Tragic Loss of her Cousin Christopher Lawford

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Throughout the years, the Kennedy family has gone through their share of tragedies and watching the lives of those they loved get cut much too short. And once again, the family is mourning the loss of actor Christopher Lawford, cousin of Maria Shriver.

“This handsome, loving, fun man is my cousin Christopher Lawford,” Shriver wrote on her Instagram page on Thursday (Sept. 6,) just one day after Lawford died of a heart attack at the age of 63. “He passed away suddenly yesterday. He was my age, full of love and very much alive.”

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This handsome, loving, fun man is my cousin Christopher Lawford. He passed away suddenly yesterday. He was my age, full of love and very much alive. It took me a bit to think about how best to share about him and I do believe he would want me to share about him. He lived a big life and he cared deeply about life. He fought for his and in turn he fought to help so many people dealing with addiction issues. He was really at the forefront of the recovery movement, using his own story to save others, to help them feel less alone. I was always in awe of his courage, his bravery and his honesty. We had dinner last week and he was so happy, proud of his kids, proud of his family, proud that he was where he was in his life. I told him I loved him, that I was proud of him, that I was so blessed to have him in my life, as he has been a witness to my whole life and I to his. It’s been written that he was an actor and a Kennedy but he was so much more than that. He carved out his own life and those who knew him, who were helped by him, who read his books, who heard him speak, knew he was his own man. He was Christopher Kennedy Lawford… Father, husband, brother, cousin, sponsor, advocate, healer, lover and warrior. Today may you honor those who have been with you for the long haul, those who know every part of you and who love you anyway, those who have stood in the storm and survived, and those fighting for their sobriety. Tell them you love them that you see them and believe in them. It’s trite to say life is fragile. But it’s so true. It’s so loving to be loving. It’s so kind to be kind. It’s so gracious to be forgiving. It’s so important to tell those you care about how proud you are of them. Because in a second they can be gone. God bless you, Christopher. Love you to heaven and back.

A post shared by Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) on

Shriver’s mom Eunice and Lawford’s mother Patricia were sisters whose siblings also included President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy.

“It took me a bit to think about how best to share about him and I do believe he would want me to share about him,” Shriver continued in the Instagram post about her cousin. “He lived a big life and he cared deeply about life. He fought for his and in turn he fought to help so many people dealing with addiction issues. He was really at the forefront of the recovery movement, using his own story to save others, to help them feel less alone. I was always in awe of his courage, his bravery and his honesty.”

Join us in sending condolences to all who loved Lawford.

Tricia Despres
Tricia Despres is a Chicago-based freelance writer covering music and entertainment for nearly twenty years. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Advertising Age and various regional publications. A country music fan at her core, Despres has interviewed country greats such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood through the years and thrives on telling the story behind the story. When she is not alongside her laptop, she is alongside her family - husband Paul and daughters Taylor and Amanda.

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