Shriver had long suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He was 95 years old.
Shriver served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations in the 1960's, ran the War on Poverty and founded or was an early advocate of groups including Head Start, Job Corps, and the Special Olympics. He was the U.S. Ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970.
His biggest foray into national politics came in 1972 when George McGovern chose him to replace Thomas Eagleton as his running mate on the ill-fated Democratic ticket.
Shriver is the father of former California First Lady Maria Shriver. His wife was Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died in 2009.