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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Billionaire Getty dies
Sir John Paul Getty II with his wife Lady Victoria
Sir Paul was a committed Anglophile
US-born billionaire Sir John Paul Getty II has died at a London hospital at the age of 70.

He was admitted to the London Clinic on Monday for treatment for a recurrent chest infection but died on Thursday, said consultant Dr John Goldstone.

In a short statement issued on behalf of the Getty family and the London Clinic, Dr Goldstone said: "Sadly Sir Paul passed away at 10.40am today.

"His family would like to extend their thanks to all those who have expressed their sympathy, which is greatly appreciated."

Known as Sir Paul, he was a staunch Anglophile and donated millions of pounds in support of the arts in Britain.

He anonymously supported many causes that moved him
Bruce Elrick, Aberdeen, Scotland

He gave away at least 120m, including large sums to the National Gallery, the British Film Institute, and donations to keep other works of art in the country.

Sir Paul was married three times and leaves three sons, two daughters and his widow, and an estimated 1.4bn estate.

The heir to what was once the world's largest private oil fortune, endured a series of family tragedies, including the death of his second wife from a drug overdose and the kidnap of his son Paul.

Cash custodian

The boys' grandfather, oil baron Sir John Paul Getty, initially refused to help pay the US $3m ransom until the Italian kidnappers cut off the boy's ear and sent it to his family.

Sir Paul, who lived a hippie lifestyle in the 1960s, moved to the UK where he received treatment for his drug addiction.

We owe him a huge debt of gratitude and I am sure we will be arranging some type of memorial for him
Adrian Wootton
British Film Institute

He was willing to use his vast fortune to the benefit of his adopted country.

In a rare public statement after subsidising the families of striking miners in 1985, Sir Paul said he was "privileged to be the heir to huge wealth and I regard myself as custodian of that money for the benefit of people who need it more than I do".

Of living in the UK and his philanthropy, Sir Paul said: "I think that since I've lived here and been happy here for such a long time, I think it's my duty here.

"I certainly don't intend to live in America again. I intend to be buried here."

His philanthropy earned him an honorary knighthood from the Queen in 1986.

As an American citizen, he was not entitled to be called "Sir".

Passionate man

But in December 1997 he was granted British citizenship, allowing him to be knighted by the Queen a few months later and use his title.

The British Film Institute, which received between 40m and 50m from Sir Paul over 20 years, said they would be thinking of ways to commemorate him.

The Conservative Party, which benefited from a 5m donation, also paid tribute to his generosity.

John Major, former Tory prime minister and an ardent cricket fan, said: "Paul Getty was a truly remarkable man whom I was privileged to know as a friend.

"Generous and gentle, he was an immense benefactor to good causes, especially cricket and the arts.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"He found solace by giving away huge sums of money"



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