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John F. Kennedy, Jr's Death

John F. Kennedy, Jr

What's in a name? Instant fame and wealth, sometimes. And in this case, a life cut way too short before the promise and potential could be realized.

John F. Kennedy Junior was the instantly famous son of President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, who'd already had a daughter, Caroline.

Kennedy Family

He was born less than three weeks after his dad won the 1960 election. Growing up in the White House, he experienced an early childhood like few can even imagine.

First, he was the cute little prince, "John-John" to the media…

John F. Kennedy, Jr with father

…but when his father was cut down just days before his third birthday…

John F. Kennedy motorcade

…he did something no one should ever have to do

The next day, he turned 3.

After the Kennedy family left Washington, they settled in New York City where Jacqueline…

Jacqueline Kennedy

…tried to shield her children from the prying press. But JFK Junior still attracted lots of attention, and grew up as one of New York's most eligible bachelors. People magazine called him the "Sexiest Man Alive".

John F. Kennedy, Jr cover of people magazine

After a couple of notable test failures, he finally passed the New York bar exam in 1990. He then worked as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's office. He moved on to publish a magazine called "George", and there was even talk about moves to get him to run for New York City mayor.

He married Carolyn Bessette in September 1996.

John F. Kennedy, Jr on wedding day with Carolyn Bessette

But it all ended less than three years later on a July evening in 1999.

Kennedy and his wife…

John F. Kennedy, Jr with Carolyn Bessette

…and her sister Lauren…

Lauren Bessette

…boarded a small plane, similar to this one…

John F. Kennedy, Jr's airplane

…bound for Martha's Vineyard, to attend a Kennedy family wedding.

Although a licensed pilot, JFK Junior was not able to fly by instruments only and when haze impaired the visibility, he crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Pilot error was blamed, Kennedy plunging straight into the water. All three on board died.

John F. Kennedy, Jr Death certificate

Their bodies were recovered a few days later…cremated… and then taken back out to sea with their ashes scattered from a Navy destroyer off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.

John F. Kennedy, Jr funeral scattering ashes at sea.