The daughters of two senior Democratic politicians have both died from brain conditions at the age of 51, it was revealed today. Eleanor Mondale, the daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale, succumbed to cancer. The remarkable coincidence comes just two years after her father, the brother of assassinated President John F Kennedy, died from the same condition.
The family’s many misfortunes – including the assassination of JFK’s brother Robert and the death of his son John F Kennedy Jr in an air crash – have been described as the Kennedy Curse.
Ms Kennedy, who leaves behind her husband of 21 years, Michael Allen, and their two teenage children, died yesterday at a health club in Washington following her daily workout.
Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island, today
The TV producer, who often helped her father and other family members campaign, had been battling with illnesses since being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002. Although doctors said her chances of survival were slim, she battled back a year later after surgeons in Boston removed a malignant tumor. Patrick Kennedy, who had a non-cancerous tumor near his spine removed in 1988, 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 added. It is unknown when she contracted the fatal tumour and what – if any – treatments had been carried out.
In April article she wrote for The Boston Globe Magazine, Kara Kennedy recalled the lessons her father taught his children.
She wrote of family trips in the summer when the late senator would lead his children on explorations of historic battlefields and buildings, trips she said taught her that one person can make a difference. ‘What mattered to my father was not the scale of an accomplishment, but that we did our share to make the world better,’ she wrote. ‘That we learned we were part of something larger than ourselves.’
Eleanor Mondale had a reputation for partying. The party-loving blonde died in her sleep with her husband and dogs at her side, according to a statement posted on her journal page, after a six-year battle with brain cancer. ‘Early Saturday morning, September 17th, 2011, our dearest sweet Eleanor passed away from this world,’ the website CaringBridge.org journal entry said.
‘Eleanor Mondale Poling lived bravely, without regret or fear, with such amazing strength and grace, for 6 years after being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005.’ Miss Mondale, whose father served as Vice President during the administration of Jimmy Carter, had been married three times. She wed widow Chan Poling, a 1970s punk rocker with The Suburbs, in 2005 after previous marriages to Chicago Bears offensive lineman Keith Van Horne and fellow DJ Greg Thunder failed. Paying tribute to her, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton today said: ‘From the shy teenager I first met, Eleanor transformed – and transcended! – into a very beautiful, poised, multi-talented, and accomplished woman. ‘She loved her family, friends, and animals, as as she loved life.’
This is sooo scary and sad! I remember hearing so many funny stories about Eleanor Mondale “The Wild Child” growing up. I thought that she was sooo beautiful and cool! She really lived life! Life is short so live it up!