Jackie Onassis given the last rites

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The Independent Online
JACQUELINE Kennedy Onassis has lost her battle with cancer. Her doctors yesterday said nothing more could be done to treat the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which she has fought since January.

'Nothing more can be done for her,' yesterday's bulletin said. She had been discharged from hospital on Tuesday night, 'in accordance with the patient's wishes'.

Her two children, Caroline and John, were at her Fifth Avenue apartment in New York when she came home. Senator Ted Kennedy, her brother-in-law, flew in from Washington, and her sister Lee Radziwill was also there. Mrs Onassis was given the last rites last night.

The 64-year-old former First Lady was released from hospital after a chemotherapy session to treat the spreading lymphoma. She was given oxygen overnight and was reported to be comfortable, but Senator Kennedy said: 'I think all members of the family are distressed by the medical reports. We love Jackie. All members of the family love her deeply.'

Last Sunday Mrs Onassis was seen walking in Central Park with her companion, Maurice Tempelsman, her daughter Caroline and grandson Jack. She appeared pale and weak.

Once the First Lady who set fashion and style for a generation of American women, Mrs Onassis has been seen in public a number of times since undergoing emergency surgery for a bleeding ulcer in April. Stomach ulcers can be caused by cancer treatment, or by the stress of the disease.

Throughout a life of tragedies, losing her first husband to assassination and three of her five children soon after birth, Mrs Onassis has not had robust health, suffering bouts of depression after the birth of her second child, John Kennedy Jnr, in 1960.

As far as possible, she has made her illness a very private ordeal. Rumours of illness began to circulate when she failed to appear at a fundraiser for Senator Kennedy in February. A few weeks later, it was revealed she had lymphoma.