Billionaire David Rockefeller passes away at the age of 101

David Rockefeller, who died Monday morning at the age of 101, leaves a legacy that eludes a simple description.

He was the grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D Rockefeller who was also the first billionaire in American history. He also embodied an era when globe-trotting bank chiefs worked with the world's most powerful politicians.

"From 1974 to 1976 its earnings fell 36 percent, while those of its biggest rivals - Bank of America, Citibank, Manufacturers Hanover and J.P. Morgan - rose 12 to 31 percent", the New York Times notes, adding that a scandal in the mid-1970s led the Federal Reserve and the comptroller to term Chase a "problem" bank. By then it had made John D Rockefeller the richest man in the world, and provided an extraordinarily gilded and well-connected inheritance for his descendants.

David Rockefeller was a prince of the aristocracy of American money.

He married Margaret McGrath in 1940 and had six children.

He was well-known to world leaders, including South African President Nelson Mandela, China's Deng Xiaoping, the shah of Iran and Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt.


Rockefeller earned a degree from Harvard University in 1936 and did graduate work at the London School of Economics, where he met future President John F. Kennedy and dated his sister Kathleen.

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Among his most important civic roles, Rockefeller served as chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and executive committee chair of the Museum of Modern Art, which his mother founded.

Unlike his older brothers, David Rockefeller has never run for office, but was known for his links with political figures such as Henry Kissinger, the national security advisor to presidents Nixon and Ford.

Rockefeller collected beetles as a lifelong hobby and also acquired art - a Mark Rothko painting he bought in 1960 for less than $10,000 was auctioned for more than $72 million in May 2007. Forbes magazine ranked Rockefeller 581st on its annual list of billionaires released Monday with a fortune of $3.3 billion.

Rockefeller was born in Manhattan as the youngest of six siblings. His death closes a chapter in the fabled and influential Rockefeller family.

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