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Grandson of Billionaire Oil Tycoon, J. Paul Getty III, Dies at the Age of 54

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John Paul Getty III, the grandson of a billionaire oil tycoon who went by the same name, passed away Saturday at the age of 54. Getty died at his Buckinghamshire mansion in the United Kingdom, his son Balthazar told BBC News. Getty, who was the heir to his grandfather’s oil fortune, was nicknamed the “Golden Hippie” by members of the media. Getty earned the moniker for his nonconformist lifestyle, reddish-blonde locks, and left-wing friends, according to TIME. A gang of criminals captured headlines by capturing Getty in Italy when he was 16 and demanding a $17 million ransom from his family. The captors severed his ear when his billionaire grandfather opted not to meet their demands. The ear was sent to an Italian newspaper with an accompanying message that read, “This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little pieces.” The stalemate ended despite J. Paul Getty Sr.’s concerns over potentially endangering his other 14 grandchildren. Getty was dropped off at a gas station in exchange for $2.8 million in cash, The Washington Post recalls. The “Golden Hippie” became a quadriplegic who was left paralyzed, partially blind, and unable to speak after suffering a near-fatal stroke triggered by a drug overdose in 1981.