By People Staff
August 01, 1999 12:00 PM

At times, Central Park seemed like John’s personal playground. Paparazzi snapped him making touchdowns, chasing Frisbees or speeding by on Rollerblades—bare-chested all the time, it seemed. To those struggling to keep up, he appeared tireless. “He had an incredible physical prowess and amazing stamina,” says actress Hilary Shepard-Turner, a close friend of his ex-girlfriend Daryl Hannah’s. “We would go skiing all day in Telluride, and everyone else would collapse. Then he would go on a two-hour bike ride through the mountains. Seriously.” Kennedy, by all accounts, thrived on testing his physical limits. He loved skiing, kayaking and bicycling, and in May he broke his ankle in a paragliding accident. To those who watched him grow up, the daredevil attitude and athleticism were clearly cherished family traits. “I remember when he was about 2 years old,” says his uncle James Auchincloss, “not just going off the diving board and into the deep end of the swimming pool but actually asking for help to climb up to the high-diving board and just racing off the board to 10 feet of free fall.” But as he fell, he knew the landing would be cushioned. “His father,” says Auchincloss, “was there to catch him.”