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Kennedys hold private wake in Hyannis Port

The flag flies at half-staff outside the Kennedy home   
January 2, 1998
Web posted at: 3:33 p.m. EST (2033 GMT)

HYANNIS PORT, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Michael Kennedy, killed in a New Year's Eve ski accident in Colorado, was being mourned at a private wake Friday at the Hyannis Port home of his mother, Ethel.

The 39-year-old father of three was participating in an impromptu ski-slope football game while vacationing with other family members in Aspen on Wednesday. He was killed when he hit a tree on an intermediate skill slope known as the Copper Bowl. Some members of the group were not using ski poles, witnesses said.

Medical authorities ruled the death accidental, resulting from massive neck and head trauma. They said initial tests showed there were no drugs or alcohol in Kennedy's system. He had announced earlier this year that he was undergoing treatment for alcoholism.

Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy stands alone on the porch at the Kennedy family home in Hyannis Port   

A private funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. EST in Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville, a Cape Cod community near Hyannis Port. The Mass will be followed by burial in the Kennedy family plot at Holy Hood Cemetery in the Boston suburb of Brookline.

A small jet carrying Kennedy's body landed about 3 p.m. Thursday at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts. On hand to meet the plane were Kennedy's older brother, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, and his uncle, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Actor Kevin Costner, an Aspen resident, lent his 12-seat airplane with its crew to the Kennedys so some of the family could return to Massachusetts with the body, the Rocky Mountain News reported on Friday.

Kennedy family members
Kennedy family members walk on the beach Friday morning   

Kennedy's mother was among the relatives vacationing in Aspen, where the family has been going since at least 1962. It wasn't clear whether she witnessed the accident that killed her son, who headed Citizens Energy Corp., a nonprofit organization that supplies heating fuel to the poor.

Michael was the sixth of the 11 children born to Ethel Kennedy and her husband. U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-New York, was assassinated in 1968 as he ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Another of the couple's children, David, died in Florida in 1984 of a drug overdose.

Correspondent Brian Jenkins contributed to this report.


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