Actor Christopher Lawford, one of John F. Kennedy's nephews, lost his life to a heart attack at the age of 63.
Lawford was notably born into a Hollywood and political royalty. He was known not only as an actor but also as an author. He was a sobriety and recovery campaigner as well after he had gone on a downward spiral of addiction and substance abuse.
Campaign For Sobriety
In 2005, he wrote his best-selling memoir Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption, the first of numerous books he authored. In the book, Lawford talked about how he was dangerously addicted to heroin, opioids, and alcohol and how he got through his addiction.
Lawford battled with his addiction from the 1970s to 1980s. In 1980, he was apprehended in Colorado after he had been caught impersonating a doctor just to get prescription medication. However, the charges against him were dropped after he had finished his probation.
In 1984, his cousin David died of a drug overdose. This inspired Lawford to push for his recovery and inspire others. He even built a clinic to help opioid dependents located in Boston.
"We mourn the loss of my cousin Christopher Lawford, Rest in Peace," Kerry Kennedy, Lawford's cousin tweeted.
We mourn the loss of my cousin Christopher Lawford, Rest in Peace.
Pictured here with our family at the 2004 Democratic Convention and with his wonderful son, David. pic.twitter.com/GLlCvN7xkv
- Kerry Kennedy (@KerryKennedyRFK) September 5, 2018
According to former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, also Lawford's cousin, he passed away on Sept. 4 in Vancouver, Canada.
Lawford was in Vancouver with his girlfriend to open a recovery center. The two were doing hot yoga, something that was not unusual for them. However, the strain of the activity must have been too much to Lawford to handle.
"He was the absolute cornerstone to my sobriety, along with my wife," said Patrick Kennedy. "He was the one who walked me through all the difficult days of that early period."
Lawford is the firstborn of Patricia Kennedy Lawford, sister of John, Ted, and Robert Kennedy, and Peter Lawford, an actor, a socialite, and a member of Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra's 1960s group of friends who were also entertainers. His mother passed away in 2006, while his father died in 1984.
Lawford was the only son of four children and was born in 1955 in Santa Monica, California. He graduated from Minnesota's Tufts University and Boston College of Law. He got a master's degree in clinical psychology from Harvard University, where he was also appointed as a psychiatry lecturer.
His acting career was also successful. He had appeared in General Hospital, Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger, his cousin-in-law, and All My Children.