David Rockefeller, the head of one of the most powerful families in the world, died this morning at the age of 102. The Rockefeller family announced that David died in sleep in his mansion located in Pocantico Hills in the state of New York.
Born in 1915, David Rockefeller was the youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He grew up in New York and lived in one of the tallest private residences ever built in the city. He developed an interest for finances as a child, and attended several private schools before getting into Harvard University. He graduated in 1936 and went on to study Economics for a year at the London School of economics. There he got the opportunity to meet future President John F. Kennedy and even had a short relationship with his sister Kathleen.
Rockefeller began his career in 1939, when he started working for Chase Manhattan Bank. However, in 1940 David decided to pursue a PhD which he earned at the University of Chicago in 1942. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the US Army and made his way to the rank of captain in 1945. He served in North Africa and France, where he learned the language.
After the war, David got back to working at Chase National Bank, owned and run by his family. He slowly but steady made his way up the corporate ladder. By 1960’s he made many friends and became a powerful and influential figure in the US. He used his fame, influence and connections to negotiate and promote peace with several world leaders of the time.
In 1979, while running the Chase Bank, David was involved in an international incident when he and Henry Kissinger persuaded President Jimmy Carter to admit the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, into the US for hospital treatment. All three of them came under heavy criticism, as many believed that their rash decision provoked Iranian extremists to take and keep US citizens as hostages.
After 35 years of running the Chase Manhattan Bank, David retired in 1981, at the age of 65. However, he remained the head of the Rockefeller family and maintained his political and corporate allies.
Some rumors suggest that he even had connections to the Central Intelligence Agency. This claim is supported by the fact that after the Pearl Harbor attack, Allen Dulles, the first director of the CIA, and a lifelong friend of David, relocated his operational center to Rockefeller Complex in New York City. During his whole life, David identified himself as a Republican and contributed to the party in numerous ways.
He was one of the richest people on Earth, with his net worth estimated to be US $3.1 billion, which ranked him among the 200 richest people in the world. He had a keen desire to prolong his life and underwent several surgeries and treatments to regenerate his health. His family says that during his life, David gave more than $2 billion to charity.
He was married to Margaret McGrath, until she died in 1996. When David passed away, he left six of his children. According to some sources, each of them will receive an equal percentage of his fortune.