German billionaire Adolf Merckle committed suicide by throwing himself under a train, “broken” as his business empire crumbled under a growing burden of debt, his family said.
The 74 year-old businessman was hit yesterday evening near his hometown of Blaubeuren, 44 miles southeast of Stuttgart, a police officer said in an interview. His body was found on the tracks at around 7:30 p.m. about 300 yards from his home and a suicide note had also been found.
Merckle, whose holding company owes banks about 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion), owned stakes in HeidelbergCement AG and drug wholesaler Phoenix Pharmahandel AG. He had been seeking emergency financing for more than two months from a group of more than 30 banks led by Commerzbank AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.
“The dedicated family businessman was broken by his inability to handle the situation and he ended his own life,” his family said in a statement today. “The distress at his companies caused by the financial crisis and the resultant uncertainty of the last few weeks” contributed to his death, the family added.
Merckle, whose estimated $9.2 billion fortune put him 94th on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, was hurt by bets on Volkswagen AG, a drop in the value of HeidelbergCement stock and increasing debt. The family’s spiraling debt threatened holdings including its VEM Vermoegensverwaltung GmbH holding company, which owed the bank about 5 billion euros, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.
From Bloomberg. Sad, but not too surprising when "money becomes your God", as NorthReport says in this babble thread.