Eunice Kennedy Shriver in critical condition

BALTIMORE - Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of President Kennedy's and founder of the Special Olympics, was in critical condition Friday with a postoperative infection.

Shriver, 79, had a benign pancreatic tumor removed Oct. 12 and doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital predicted a full recovery. She was released Oct. 21.

But Shriver was readmitted Monday after complaining of pain. Doctors discovered a postoperative infection and operated Tuesday night to stem that infection, according to a statement by her son, Maryland state lawmaker Mark Shriver.

''Her husband, her children are with her and ask for everybody's prayers,'' his statement said.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Shriver's niece, canceled her appearance at the funeral of a Churchville, Md., sailor killed in the USS Cole attack to be at the hospital, her spokesman said.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who is Shriver's brother, remained in Washington for Senate votes.

Hospital spokeswoman Beth Simpkins said family members were visiting Shriver, but she would not identify them and said they did not want to speak to the media.

Hospital officials referred all further questions to Mark Shriver's office.

At the time of the Oct. 12 surgery, Shriver's doctor, John Cameron, said the five-hour operation was ''very successful'' and he expected her to make a full recovery.

Mrs. Shriver, whose sister Rosemary was mentally retarded, organized the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago. The two-day event drew more than 1,000 participants from 26 states and Canada.

Now, more than 1 million athletes in some 160 countries participate in Special Olympics meets each year.

Her husband, Sargent Shriver, was the founding director of the Peace Corps and the Democratic vice presidential candidate on the 1972 ticket with George McGovern.

Shriver is the mother of five children: Mark, NBC reporter Maria Shriver, who is married to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Robert, Timothy and Anthony.


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