The Death of John F. Kennedy Jr.

On July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette along with her sister Lauren were killed in a plane crash off Martha’s Vineyard marking the end of Camelot.

From the moment little John John was seen saluting at his father’s funeral all of the hopes and dreams that people had placed on U.S. President John F. Kennedy before his assassination were passed on to his young son.

John F. Kennedy

When JFK Jr. grew into a handsome young man and became a lawyer (after several publicized attempts to pass the bar) he was considered the country’s most eligible bachelor and was even named as sexiest man alive by People Magazine.

As discussed in Episode #8 of History of the 90s, his high profile romances became fodder for the paparazzi which went completely nuts over his relationship with Carolyn Bessette, documenting the couple’s every move in a situation kin to Princess Diana in the UK.

In September 1996, John and Carolyn were married in a secret wedding on Cumberland Island located 20 miles off the coast of Georgia in the tiny First African Baptists Church. The iconic photos released to the public portrayed a couple very much in love with a bright, promising future.

John F. Kennedy & Carolyn Bessette

Instead of entering politics right away, in 1995 John Jr. launched a magazine called George which was a unique mashup of politics and lifestyle. But the magazine struggled and so did his marriage. The couple was photographed having a volatile argument in a New York park.

John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette

Early in the evening of July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., along with his Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren took off from a New Jersey airport headed to Martha’s Vineyard.

As John Jr. flew the single engine Piper Saratoga plane a thick fog moved into the area. John, who was a new pilot, became disoriented and lost his bearings. 34 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard Airport the plane went into a downward spiral and smashed into the ocean.

John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette

It would take four more days of searching before the bodies were found by navy divers. All 3 were still strapped in their seats.  John F. Kennedy Jr was 39, Carolyn Besstte was 33 and her sister Lauren was 34.

To learn about more important events from the 90s check out my podcast History of the 90s available on ApplePodcasts, Spotify, Google Play and anywhere else you stream audio. You can also listen at on the Curiouscast website.

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