The Kennedy in-law who directed the Peace Corps for John F. Kennedy and ran for vice president as George McGovern's running mate died at 95 Tuesday afternoon, NBC News has confirmed.
Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., known affectionately as Sarge, was admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, the family said. No details about his ailment were released. He announced in 2003 that he had Alzheimer's disease.
The Maryland native served as the first Peace Corps director in the administration of his brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy. He was Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's running mate in 1972. He is also the father of former NBC reporter Maria Shriver, who is married to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Shriver's wife, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died in 2009 at age 88. In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the family said Sargent Shriver went to heaven to join the love of his life.
Shriver was often known first as a Kennedy in-law, but his achievements were historic in their own right. He led President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty," out of which came such programs as Head Start and Legal Services. Within the family, he was sometimes relied upon for the hardest tasks. When Jacqueline Kennedy needed someone to arrange the funeral for her assassinated husband, she asked Shriver.
During the 1960 presidential campaign despite some staffers' fears of white backlash, Shriver helped persuade John F. Kennedy to call and offer support to the wife of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was jailed in Georgia that fall.
In 1994, Shriver received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton. It's the nation's highest civilian honor.