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Oil fortune heir Getty found dead

Published 01/04/2015

An officer stands outside a home in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles (AP)
An officer stands outside a home in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles (AP)

Andrew Getty, among the heirs in a family whose name is synonymous with elite American wealth, has been found dead in his Hollywood Hills home of what was most likely natural causes or an accident.

Neither the coroner nor police had officially identified the man, but a statement from 47-year-old Andrew Getty's parents, Ann and Gordon Getty, confirmed their son died yesterday.

Gordon Getty is the San Francisco billionaire scion of the late J Paul Getty, whose oil fortune made his family among the richest in US history.

Andrew Getty's death appeared to be from natural causes, Los Angeles County coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said, but it has been initially called an accident because of medication found at the scene.

He said coroner's officials need to wait for the results of further examination and toxicology tests, which could take up to 10 weeks to process.

"The tentative information that we do have is that he was not feeling good for the last couple months," Mr Winter said, "and he supposedly had an appointment tomorrow with a personal physician".

A woman called to report someone had died and sent officers to the gated, century-old home in the hills popular with the film industry elite shortly after 2.15pm. They found a man dead in a bathroom, police spokesman Jack Richter said.

The caller was co-operating with the investigation, but Mr Richter said he did not know her identity. She was not arrested.

Getty is one of four sons of Gordon Getty, who is one of five sons of J Paul Getty, founder of the Getty Oil Co.

J Paul Getty, who died in 1976 at age 82, was an avid collector of art and antiquities, and the Getty name is perhaps best known in the Los Angeles area for the museum that houses much of it, along with many other high-priced artworks bought since his death.

Another Getty grandson, J Paul Getty III, lost an ear in a grisly kidnapping in Rome when he was a teenager.

The family reportedly stalled on paying a ransom, and the kidnappers cut off part of his ear, sending the severed organ to a newspaper to prove they had taken him captive.

The oil heir, then 16, was freed after five months in captivity and a payment of 2.7 million US dollars. He died in 2011 at age 54.

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