Coroner: Death of Andrew Getty appears natural or accident

A police officer creates a perimeter outside a home in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Police say a man was found dead at the home of Andrew Getty, heir to Getty oil fortune. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The death at a Hollywood Hills home Tuesday of Andrew Getty, one of the heirs to the fortune of one of the wealthiest and best-known families in American history, was most likely from natural causes or an accident, authorities and family members said.

The 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 await 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,” Winter said, “and he supposedly had an appointment tomorrow with a personal physician.”

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 it was him.

A woman calling to report that someone had died sent officers to the gated home on Montcalm Avenue shortly after 2:15 p.m. They found a man dead in a bathroom, police spokesman Jack Richter said.

Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the woman who had called police was cooperating with the investigation. Richter said she was not arrested and he did not know her identity.

Coroner’s vans and news trucks were parked outside the century-old luxury home on one of the winding roads in the hills that are home to many of the film industry elite.

Getty is one of four sons of Gordon Getty, a San Francisco multibillionaire who is among the richest men in the United States.

The family statement provided no further details on the death and asked that the media and public respect the family’s privacy. It said further statements will be issued as information becomes available.

Andrew Getty’s grandfather J. Paul Getty was an industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Co. and was at one point named the richest living American by Fortune magazine. He had five sons and died in 1976 at age 82.

J. Paul Getty was an avid collector of art and antiquities, and the Getty name is 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. He died in 2011 at age 54.

 

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