A multi-millionaire killed himself yesterday by jumping off the his luxury apartment building in Manhattan after giving away his millions.
Robert Wilson was an 86-year-old Wall Street mogul whose personal fortune was estimated to be about $800million- but he recently told friends he had given all but $100million to charity. He apparently could not give away the rest because it was tied up in long-term investments.
He jumped from his 16th-floor apartment in the luxury San Remo building on Manhattan's Upper West Side on Monday.
Friends saw signs that he may do something drastic as he suffered a debilitating stroke about a month ago and began unloading his fortune in droves.
The multi-millionaire did not have any children and his 35-year marriage ended well before his death.
'His plan was to give all his money away. He told me recently, "I only have about $100million left,"' his friend Stephen Viscusi told The New York Post.
The paper reports that he has donated more than $100million a piece to four different charities: The Nature conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Monuments Fund.
'He was the most committed person I have ever known,' World Monuments Fund president Bonnie Burnham said to The Post.
'More than his financial contributions, he brought an astute mind and sharp wit to the organization. He will be missed greatly and long remembered as a visionary donor.'
The idea of saving the environment was one that Wilson had spoken about previously, and in a 2011 interview, he told The Financial Times that much of the $600million he had given to charity at that point was directed towards those groups.
'The idea of "But for my money, it would be gone forever" appeals,' he said then at the age of 84.
Another issue that appealed to him- and was close to his purse strings- was an investment in New York City's Catholic schools.
The felt that the tuition at the schools, which were going through financial issues, showed an immediate 'return' and he gave $20million to a fund earmarked for that cause.
'I’m an atheist, but I think the schools are especially good,' he said to the Financial Times.
He was also proud of the apartment where he lived, making it less of a shock that he chose that as his final resting place.
He had owned the apartment since 1978 and his attention to detail and fine art collection has helped him decorate it and refurbish it so that his original price- $300,000- is just a fraction of what he estimated it's worth in 2011- $20million.
Wilson is one of man millionaires who live in the building, as Bono, Tiger Woods, Steven Spielberg, Dodi Fayed and Bruce Willis have all had apartments in the building.
The apartment has views of Central Park, and Wilson clearly relished looking out at the trees and the lake.
'Who needs a summer place? I've got one,' he said to the Financial Times reporter.