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Getty heir dies at 47, circumstances to be determined

Andrew Getty, grandson and one of the heirs to the multi-billion dollar J Paul Getty oil fortune, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills home in California on Tuesday, aged 47. Authorities have yet to officially disclose a cause of death, but LA County assistant chief Ed Winter has been reported by multiple local media sources as suggesting Getty either succumbed to natural causes, or was the victim of an accident.

“The tentative information that we have is that he was not feeling good for the last couple months and he supposedly had an appointment scheduled for tomorrow with a personal physician,” Winter told journalists on the scene.

Yet current reports are somewhat conflicting; the LA Times cites a law enforcement source claiming that Getty, found Tuesday after an emergency 911 call, may have suffered blunt force trauma.

Because of Getty's high profile, the case is currently being handled by the Los Angeles Police Department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division. Early Wednesday morning, Pacific time, detectives were being helped with their investigation by an individual reported to be Getty's girlfriend.

Andrew Getty was the son of Gordon Getty, the San Francisco-based scion of the late J Paul Getty, whose fortune made his family one of the most wealthy in America. In a statement to press, Ann and Gordon Getty confirmed their son’s death, asking for privacy during this “extremely difficult time”.

The family is most well known in Los Angeles for the Getty Museum, funded by the J Paul Getty Trust — the world's largest cultural and philanthropic organization dedicated to the visual arts. Andrew's parent's foundation — The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation — primarily provides support to symphonies, opera companies, and educational institutions, predominantly in California.

The family has suffered a number of tragedies in the past decades. In 1958 one of J Paul Getty's sons died of a brain tumor, aged 12. In 1973, another son died from a self-inflicted stab wound. That same year, grandson J Paul Getty III was kidnapped in Rome. J Paul Getty III, who had been wheelchair-bound since a drug overdose-indused stroke paralyzed him in 1981, died aged 54 in 2011.

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