Explaining what happened, he went on to say, "We were self-quarantining in an empty house owned by Maeve's mother Kathleen on the Chesapeake Bay, hoping to give our kids more space than we have at home in DC to run around. Gideon and Maeve were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water. The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake. They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay. About 30 minutes later they were spotted by an onlooker from land, who saw them far out from shore, and called the police. After that last sighting, they were not seen again. The Coast Guard recovered their canoe, which was capsized and miles away, at approximately 6:30 yesterday evening."
McKean remembered Gideon as 8 going on 38, "deeply compassionate, declining to sing children's songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly. He hated if I accidently let a bad word slip. He spent hours upstairs reading, learning everything he could about sports, and trying to decipher the mysteries of the stock market. But he was also incredibly social, athletic, and courageous."
He called his wife "my everything... my best friend and my soulmate."
He also went on to describe the grief of their 7-year-old daughter Gabriella, and the innocence of their son Toby, 2. "It breaks my heart that he will not get to have them as a mother and brother."
The Kennedy family, as close to royalty as the U.S. has ever had, has endured more than its share of untimely deaths, including the loss of eldest Kennedy sibling Joseph during WWII (1944); the death in a plane crash of his sister Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy (1948); the assassinations of his brothers President John F. Kennedy (1963) and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (1968); the O.D. death of RFK's son David Kennedy (1984); the death of RFK's son Michael in a skiing accident (1997); the deaths of JFK Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her sister Lauren Bessette in the crash of a plane he was piloting (1999); and the O.D. death of RFK's granddaughter Saoirse Kennedy Hill in 2019.