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Ulster-born billionaire Duke of Westminster died of heart attack, says coroner's office

By Lauren Brown

Published 12/08/2016

Generous: Duke of Westminster
Generous: Duke of Westminster

Billionaire landowner the Duke of Westminster died of a heart attack, it has been confirmed.

Preston coroner's office said an inquest into the death of Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor will not take place because he died of natural causes.

The Omagh-born duke, who was 64 and a close friend of the Royal Family, died on Tuesday afternoon at the Royal Preston Hospital after being transferred from his Abbeystead Estate in Lancashire. A spokeswoman for the coroner's office confirmed the cause of death was myocardial infarction - a heart attack.

On the Grosvenor website, a message posted yesterday read: "He was a passionate country man, committed soldier, an excellent shot, a true entrepreneur and, importantly, he went out of his way to be courteous and humorous with all people, regardless of status or wealth".

It continued: "Distinctly down-to-earth, the Duke of Westminster was rarely seen without a Diet Coke and a cigarette (later electric). Not much of a sleeper, one might expect emails from him at any hour of the night and an average week would see him up and down from home in Chester to London and all over the world to visit soldiers, businesses, charities and rural estates while representing and promoting numerous organisations".

The landowner was worth around £8.3bn, according to Forbes, making him the 68th richest person in the world, and third in the UK.

He owned 190 acres in Belgravia near Buckingham Palace and one of London's most expensive areas, as well as thousands of acres in Scotland and Spain.

After his death, a Grosvenor family spokeswoman said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we can confirm that the Duke of Westminster, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor (64), died this afternoon at Royal Preston Hospital. He was taken there from the Abbeystead Estate in Lancashire where he had suddenly been taken ill."

He became trustee of the estate in his early 20s and was forced to abandon his dream of a career in the armed forces, instead satisfying his love of all things military by serving in the Territorial Army.

He became the sixth Duke of Westminster at 27 when his father Robert died in 1979, and later credited himself with using his vast wealth responsibly.

Brought up in the Fermanagh lakelands, he supported a number of charities and good causes, including making a £500,000 donation to farmers during the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The duke married Natalia Phillips in 1978 and they had one son and three daughters.

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