Kennedy Cousin Christopher Lawford Dies After Yoga Studio Medical Emergency

The actor was the son of Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy.

In-store Appearance By Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Michael Buckner / Getty Images

The actor was the son of Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy.

Actor Christopher Lawford, who starred for years on All My Children opposite Kelly Ripa, died suddenly after what is being described as a medical emergency at a yoga studio. Lawford was the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the first cousin of Maria Shriver.

TMZ says that law enforcement has reported that Lawford was attending a yoga class when he had a medical crisis which led to his death. At this time Lawford’s death appears to be from natural causes, but an autopsy is being done by the coroner to determine the Kennedy cousin’s cause of death.

Christopher Kennedy Lawford was more than an actor and a member of the Kennedy family, he was a lawyer who was active in politics and causes like Special Olympics that were close to the Kennedy family. Lawford was also the author of a New York Times best-selling autobiography called Symptoms of Withdrawal which detailed his two decades of addiction issues that led to his arrest for impersonating doctors by forging prescription forms in order to score drugs. In the book, Lawford spoke frankly about drug addiction and his unique upbringing as a member of America’s most famous family.

Robert Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy was the first family member to tweet a message about Christopher Lawford’s death, says Heavy.

“We mourn the loss of my cousin Christopher Lawford, Rest in Peace.”

Lawford, a father of three, was recently the keynote speaker at a Malibu conference on addiction where he spoke frankly about having to drop out of college because of heroin addiction.

“Mr. Lawford will discuss his many attempts at recovery and his ultimate sobriety and provide advice on how to help loved ones suffering from addiction.”

On his website, Lawford mentions that he’s worked with many organizations including the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the White House Office on Drug Control Policy to talk about substance abuse and his own experience with recovery.

Lawford also published a more clinical guide in 2016 about addiction and loved ones, says People Magazine. The book, called When Your Partner Has an Addiction: How Compassion Can Transform Your Relationship (And Heal You Both in the Process) talks about the authors use of and subsequent addiction to LSD which he says he started using at 14. Lawford says he started using the drug in reaction to his parents’ divorce and the assassination deaths of his two uncles, John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

Lawford is survived by his three children and third wife.