Inside tragedy of the Getty family – from violent kidnapping to heroin overdose

The death of John Gilbert Getty, grandson of oil magnate J Paul Getty, is the latest in a long line of tragedies for the family.

The 52-year-old heir to the £ 3.7 billion Getty oil fortune was not found in a Texas hotel room on Friday.

Once owned the greatest private wealth in America, the family has long been plagued by a series of tragedies.

It all started with Patriarch John Paul Getty, who raised millions in oil money and went on to marry five women with whom he had five children.

J Paul Getty died of heart failure in 1976 at the age of 83, leaving his fortune to his descendants.

But his family has been plagued by a long series of tragedies that have led some to call it a “Getty curse.”

In 2014, John Gilbert’s brother Andrew was found dead in his Los Angeles home after an intestinal haemorrhage.

The 54-year-old had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system when he was found dead by his girlfriend.

This happened just months after their mother Ann died at the age of 79.

John and Andrew’s father, Gordon, lost one brother to a brain tumor and another to a suspected overdose as a child.

John and Andrew's father Gordon Getty

Meanwhile, his sister-in-law Talitha Pol died of a heroin overdose.

Talitha was married to John Paul Getty in 1996, but died six years later.

The most mysterious case, however, was the kidnapping of oil magnate John Paul Getty III – the grandson of patriarch Getty Sr.

He was kidnapped by Italian gangsters when he was a teenager in Rome in 1973.

Getty III was held for ransom, but his grandfather, Getty Sr, initially refused to pay.

At the time, he said, “I have 14 grandchildren and if I pay a cent of ransom, I have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

However, it is thought that he ended up paying about $ 3 million (£ 2.25 million) after the kidnappers cut off the teen’s ear and threatened to return it bit by bit.

John Paul Getty III

Getty III began using drugs and later had a debilitating stroke in his 20s, which left him paralyzed and nearly blind. He died in 2011, aged 54.

But the family tragedies don’t stop there.

Getty Sr’s youngest child, Timothy Ware Getty, died in 1958 at the age of 12 after suffering from a brain tumor.

Another son, George, died of a suspected suicide in 1973.