John Gilbert Getty, a grandson of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty and heir to the estimated $5billion family fortune, has died at the age of 52 in the latest in a long line of tragedies to befall the family.
The family last night confirmed the passing of the Getty heir, who died in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, and paid tribute to an ‘awesome’ father and musician who leaves behind a daughter and two brothers.
The nature of his death is not yet clear, with an autopsy yet to take place, but foul play is not suspected.
It comes five years after John’s brother Andrew died of a haemorrhage in 2015 with a toxic level of methamphetamine in his system, and only months after the death of their mother Ann.
‘With a heavy heart, Gordon Getty announces the death of his son, John Gilbert Getty,’ said a spokesperson for his composer father.
John was also the cousin of tragic heir J. Paul Getty III, who was sensationally kidnapped as a teenager in 1973 and who later suffered a debilitating stroke and died aged 54 nine years ago.
John Gilbert Getty, 52, passed away on Friday in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas
His daughter, Ivy Getty, posted a loving tribute to her father along with some photos of the pair
John Gilbert Getty was the heir to the family fortune which goes back to oil tycoon J. Paul Getty (pictured left) and is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion. John’s father Gordon Getty (right), a son of the family patriarch, announced the 52-year-old’s death
Ivy Getty, picture right, posted pictures of her father in a tribute to him on her Instagram page
John’s death comes five years after his brother Andrew, pictured, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills mansion in 2015 aged 47
Tragic history of the Getty family ‘curse’
ABDUCTION DRAMA: J. Paul Getty III, the grandson of the family patriarch, was sensationally kidnapped in Rome in 1973, aged 16.
When his notoriously tight-fisted grandfather refused to pay ransom, the abductors cut off the boy’s ear and mailed it to his family. Getty eventually relented and paid a $3million ransom.
The teenager survived but began using drugs and suffered a debilitating stroke in his 20s. He died aged 54.
CHILD DEATH: The oil baron’s youngest child, Timothy Ware Getty, suffered a brain tumour aged six and died at the age of 12 in 1958.
Getty’s then-wife Teddy, a former nightclub singer, later wrote in a memoir that the tycoon had admonished her over the boy’s expensive medical bills.
They divorced soon after Timothy’s death, but Teddy lived until 2017 when she died aged 103. Another of Getty’s sons, George, died in a suspected suicide in 1973.
HEROIN DEATH: Talitha Pol, a Dutch actress who married J. Paul Getty Jr in 1966, died of a heroin overdose five years later in 1971.
Pol had lived her own jet-setting life and was the subject of a famous photo with her husband on a Marrakech rooftop in 1969.
SECOND FAMILY: Gordon Getty had his own brush with scandal in 1999 when the father of four sons with his wife, Ann, acknowledged he had a second family in Los Angeles that included three daughters.
The acknowledgement came after the daughters filed court papers to change their last names to Getty.
FOUND DEAD AT HOME: Andrew Getty, another grandson of the oil tycoon, was found dead by his girlfriend at his Hollywood Hills mansion in 2015. He was 47.
Coroners found he had died of an accidental intestinal haemorrhage and also had a toxic level of methamphetamine in his system.
A family statement said: ‘John leaves behind his daughter, Ivy Getty, whom he loved beyond measure, and his brothers Peter and Billy. His brother, Andrew, predeceased John. John’s mother, Ann Gilbert Getty, passed this September.
‘John was a talented musician who loved rock and roll. He will be deeply missed.’
Ivy, his 25-year-old daughter, shared a moving tribute post on social media over the weekend, coupled with a number of photos where she is pictured with her father.
‘My father was awesome- coolest man to ever land on this planet and I will forever be the proudest daughter,’ she wrote.
‘Love you so much Dad….life is cruel sometimes…. I have not one, but two guardian angels watching over me now…here are some of my favorite pictures of him (and selfishly a couple of us).’
Ivy Getty continued to memorialize her father in her Instagram stories on Monday.
She shared numerous photos interspersed with fun facts about her father. She wrote, ‘My dad would absolutely love if I shared photos of him and talked about how much he meant to me so I am doing that.’
Getty noted that Fiji water was her dad’s favorite water, Whispering Angel was his favorite rosé and that ‘he loved ice cream and putting it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before consumption. He wanted to eat it (or really drink it like a soup).’
Ivy told how her father split his time between London and Los Angeles and praised his guitar skills.
She wrote, ‘He was an absolute beast at any instrument but his favorite was guitar. He held all the chords totally different that anyone else because he taught himself.’
A number of members of the Getty family also posted their condolences underneath the posts.
August Getty, son of Ariadne Getty, the granddaughter of the late family patriarch, wrote: ‘Two beautiful angels, I love you so much.’
August’s sister Nats Getty wrote: ‘Love you Ivy.’
Although there are no signs of foul play in John Gilbert Getty’s death, it is the latest episode in a long line of tragedies which have led some to speak of a ‘Getty curse’.
While the heirs of the oil tycoon have managed to maintain a significant share of the family fortune, the money has not shielded subsequent generations from drug addiction, premature death, tabloid scandal and violent attacks.
Five years ago, John’s brother Andrew Getty was found dead by his girlfriend at a Hollywood Hills mansion, aged 47.
Los Angeles medical examiners said he died of an accidental gastrointestinal haemorrhage and also had a toxic level of methamphetamine in his system.
John was the cousin of fellow heir J. Paul Getty III (pictured), who was sensationally kidnapped in Italy in 1973 and had his cut off by the mobsters who abducted him
Gordon Getty – the father of deceased brothers John and Andrew – and his wife Ann at a wedding in Britain in 1973
Dutch-born actress Talitha Pol (pictured with her son Tara Gabriel Gramophone Galaxy Getty), the wife of J. Paul Getty II, died of a heroin overdose in 1971
Ivy is pictured here with her father when she was a little girl
Ivy Getty is pictured with her parents including John, left, who passed away on Friday
John and Andrew’s father, Gordon Getty, lost one brother to a brain tumour as a child and another to a suspected suicide, while sister-in-law Talitha Pol died from a heroin overdose.
Pol, a Dutch actress and ‘Bohemian beauty’ with her own jet-setting background, married J. Paul Getty Jr in 1966 but was estranged from him by the time of their death.
Getty Jr, later known as Sir Paul Getty after receiving an honorary knighthood in Britain, was a philanthropist and cricket fan who died in 2003.
In 1973, another of the tycoon’s grandsons, J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped by Italian gangsters in Rome and held to a ransom which Getty Sr initially refused to pay.
‘I have 14 grandchildren and if I pay one penny ransom, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren,’ he said.
However, he is eventually thought to have coughed up around $3million after the kidnappers cut off the teenager’s ear and threatened to return him piece by piece.
In subsequent years, Getty III began using drugs including cocaine and heroin and in 1981 suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed and nearly blind. He died in 2011.
Ivy Getty continued to memorialize her father in her Instagram stories on Monday
Ivy Getty, 25, called her father, ‘the most important man in my life’
Gordon Getty, the father of John and Andrew and, is a classical musician and philanthropist who facilitate the sale of his father’s business, Getty Oil, after the billionaire died in 1976.
At one time, he was the sole benefactor of the Getty family’s $4.1 billion trust before he split it up into six separate trusts.
Gordon, who is currently said to be worth $2.1 billion, according to Forbes, married Ann Gilbert in 1964 and Andrew and John were two of their four children.
However, in 1999 it emerged that he had a second family in Los Angeles that included three daughters, who had filed court papers to change their last names to Getty.
Getty Sr’s youngest child, Timothy Ware Getty, suffered a brain tumour aged six and died at the age of 12 in 1958.
The oil baron’s then-wife Teddy, a former nightclub singer, later wrote in a memoir that the tycoon had admonished her over the boy’s expensive medical bills.
They divorced soon after Timothy’s death, but Teddy lived until 2017 when she died aged 103.
Another of Getty’s sons, George, died in a suspected suicide in 1973.
At one time the richest person in the world, Getty Sr was married five times and had his five sons by four of his wives.
Getty became one of the financial giants of the 20th century after he took over his father’s oil business and built it into Getty Oil, a multinational conglomerate with holdings all over the world.
A prominent art collector, he bequeathed much of his personal fortune to the Getty Museum with its sprawling campus on a Los Angeles mountaintop.
John Gilbert Getty is pictured in a photo from his daughter’s Instagram page
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