LOS ANGELES – Andrew Getty, an heir to Getty oil fortune, died from an ulcer-related hemorrhage but he also had a toxic level of methamphetamine in his body, according to an autopsy report obtained Tuesday.
Getty, 47, was found dead on the bathroom floor of a bedroom in his Studio City hillside home on March 31, several days after he was last seen alive. His body and the area were bloody but investigators said there were no signs of foul play. Getty’s personal assistant told investigators that Getty had complained of stomach pain for the past two months and the assistant had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for him on April 1 – one day after his body was discovered.
The death was ruled accidental by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. An April 2 autopsy report concluded that Getty died from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to duodenal ulcers but “acute methamphetamine intoxication” and atherosclerotic heart disease – hardening of heart arteries – were contributing factors.
Getty’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, who found his body, told authorities that he took methamphetamine daily and the coroner’s report said testing found the level of methamphetamine in his blood was in the “toxic range.”
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“Methamphetamine is a known cardiac central nervous stimulant,” said the report, which was made final on June 12 and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. It was first reported Tuesday by TMZ.com.
Methamphetamine, prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia were found in the home.
The reclusive Getty had said in recent court documents that he was battling a “serious medical condition” that could endanger his life. He obtained a restraining order earlier this year against his girlfriend, Lanessa DeJonge, noting her behavior and arguments between them, and expressing concern that “heated arguments can cause my blood pressure to rise dangerously.”
Getty wasn’t the first heir of the oil tycoon to die in middle age. His cousin, J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped in Italy in 1973 and the kidnappers cut off the 16-year-old’s ear. The oil baron eventually paid a ransom reported to be $3 million. Once released, the teenager resumed a jet-set lifestyle of abusing drugs and consorting with rock stars until he suffered a debilitating stroke in his 20s. He died in 2011 at age 54.
His stepmother, actress Talitha Pol, who had lived her own jet-set life, died of a heroin overdose in 1971.
“The story of the famed Getty family is one of the most obvious examples that money, cold hard cash, doesn’t buy happiness,” Forbes Magazine reported in a profile last year when it listed the combined family fortune at $5 billion - 54th highest on its list of America’s most wealthy.