Posted tagged ‘Billionaire Suicide’

German Billionaire Adolf Merckle Commits Suicide

January 6, 2009

German billionaire Adolf Merckle took his own life this week, becoming the latest high-profile casualty of the global economic crisis that already has claimed the lives of executives in both Europe and here in the United States.

Reuters

Credit: Reuters

From the Associated Press:

Merckle, a respected businessmen with a wife and four children, jumped in front of a train in the town of Blaubeuren in southwestern Germany, officials said Tuesday.

His business empire had run into trouble in the crisis, and its problems were compounded by heavy losses in trading of shares in automaker Volkswagen AG. Merckle’s business interests included generic drug maker Ratiopharm International GmbH and cement maker HeidelbergCement AG.

Merckle’s family said in a statement that “the distress to his firms caused by the financial crisis and the related uncertainties of recent weeks, along with the helplessness of no longer being able to act, broke the passionate family businessman.”

Authorities said he left a suicide note, but gave no details. Merckle’s death appears to be at least the third comparable suicide in less than four months.

In September, Kirk Stephenson — the chief operating officer of private equity house Olivant — jumped in front of a train at a rail station west of London. The 47-year-old husband and father of a young son stepped onto the tracks, was struck and killed.

A British coroner ruled last month that the death was suicide, though the precise reasons remain a mystery. He left no suicide note.

Two days before Christmas, in New York, Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, was found dead at his desk, both wrists slashed and bottle of pills nearby after his fortune and the money of his loved ones vanished along with his clients when he lost $1.4 billion invested with Bernard Madoff.

From the New York Times:

Adolf Merckle, the German billionaire whose speculation in volatile Volkswagen stock had pushed his sprawling business empire to the edge of ruin, has committed suicide, his family said Tuesday.

Mr. Merckle, 74, was found dead on railroad tracks near his villa in the southern German hamlet of Blaubeuren on Monday evening. German authorities in the nearby city of Ulm confirmed the death and said there was no sign anyone else was involved.

“The distress to his firms caused by the financial crisis and the related uncertainties of recent weeks, along with the helplessness of no longer being able to handle the situation, broke the passionate family businessman, and he ended his life,” the family said in a statement.

The police said a suicide note had been found; its contents were not publicly released.

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