Imprisoned heir to du Pont chemical fortune dies

December 10, 2010 06:35

PITTSBURGH — John du Pont, the chemical fortune heir who killed an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler at his palatial estate near Philadelphia, died Thursday after being found unresponsive in his prison cell. He was 72.

Du Pont was found just before 7 a.m. at the Laurel Highlands state prison near Somerset, state prisons spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Somerset Community Hospital.He was serving a 13- to 30-year prison sentence after being found guilty but mentally ill in David Schultz's death.

"He had had some illnesses so we are considering it natural," said McNaughton, noting that the county coroner would ultimately make the determination on the cause of death. Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said later Thursday he was still gathering information on the death and had no immediate comment.

Du Pont was the great-great-grandson of E.I. du Pont, the French-born industrialist who founded the chemical company, and one of hundreds of heirs to the family fortune.

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