Rockefeller donated nearly $2 billion in his lifetime to various organisations including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Rockefeller University.

David Rockefeller died in his sleep of congestive heart failure at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York.
David Rockefeller died in his sleep of congestive heart failure at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York.

US billionaire, David Rockefeller, died at the age of 101 on Monday in New York, family spokesperson Fraser Seitel said.

The former head of Chase Manhattan Corp and patriarch of one of the most famous and influential American families died in his sleep of congestive heart failure at his home in Pocantico Hills.

Seitel said Rockefeller had donated nearly $2 billion in his lifetime to organisations including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Rockefeller University.

He was the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr, who developed New York's Rockefeller Center, and was the last living grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and the family dynasty.

During his time as head of Chase from 1969 to 1981, Rockefeller forged such a network of close relationships with governments and multinational corporations that observers said the bank had its own foreign policy.

The Rockefeller name came to symbolise unpopular US banking policies in debtor countries, and Rockefeller was scorned on the left for working with Chile's Augusto Pinochet and the shah of Iran.

He also was viewed with anger on the right for pushing to open trade with China and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Early days

Born in Manhattan as the youngest of six siblings, Rockefeller spent his childhood in New York City and at the family's estates, and recalled meeting such luminaries as Charles Lindbergh, Admiral Richard Byrd and Sigmund Freud.

His ties to the internationally famous continued throughout his adulthood, symbolised by his famed 100,000-card Rolodex, housed in its own room next to his office in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.

The site of the nine-story mansion where he was born, then New York's largest residence, is now part of the Museum of Modern Art, which his mother, Abby, helped found in 1929.

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.

Wealth, education and family

His fortune, investments in real estate, share of family trusts and other holdings were estimated at $3.3 billion in March 2017 by Forbes magazine.

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.

He was awarded a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940.

Rockefeller's wife, Peggy, died in 1996. They had six children and 10 grandchildren.

Source: TRT World