David Rockefeller, the world’s oldest billionaire, passed away on Monday morning at age 101.
According to a family spokesperson, Rockefeller, the last remaining grandchild of America’s first billionaire, Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, died peacefully at his family’s estate in Pocantico Hills, New York. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
At the time of his death, Rockefeller was worth an estimated $3.3 billion, making him the planet’s 604th richest person, according to FORBES’ real-time billionaire rankings.
“David was an absolute joy,” the spokesperson said. “If he hadn’t been born a billionaire he still would have been the world’s nicest person.”
Rockefeller, who held a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, ran Chase National Bank for years. An avid art collector, he owned pieces by Picasso, Monet and Rothko, but he also spent time giving assets away to scores of favored causes. As one example, he donated more than $150 million to Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art, which was cofounded by his mother.
Rockefeller’s storied family first came to America in 1720 from Bavaria as Protestant religious refugees. Two centuries later, he served the country in a military intelligence unit during World War II, spending time in North Africa and France.
“No individual has contributed more to the commercial and civic life of New York City over a longer period of time than David Rockefeller,” said former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg following news of the death. “I have long admired his commitment to the city, which began with a dollar-a-year job working as a secretary to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. During my time in City Hall, he was always there for the city when we called.”
Rockefeller is survived by five children, ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren