11:07 AM EDT 12/22/2014
Jean Paul Getty
Originally posted 02/08/2011 11:15AM
J. Paul Getty III, a grandson of oil magnate Jean Paul Getty and the victim of a 1973 kidnapping and mutilation that made headlines around the world, died Saturday in Buckinghamshire, England, after a lengthy illness, his actor-son, Balthazar Getty, said in a statement.
A father of two and a grandfather of six, Getty was 54 and "taught us how to live our lives and overcome obstacles and extreme adversity," said Balthazar, 36, reports the Los Angeles Times.
At the age of 16, Getty was abducted in Rome by kidnappers who said he was being held by the Mafia. His father and grandfather, then the richest man in the world (and notoriously the cheapest, with a pay phone in his London mansion), thought it a hoax and refused to pay the $3 million requested ransom. Four months later, they received a package containing a lock of hair and a human ear.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Kidnapped South African Baby Found 17 Years Later
Lady Gaga Takes the Plunge with Taylor Kinney – but It's Not What You ThinkÂ
Is Josh and Anna Duggar's Fourth Child a Boy or a Girl?
Taylor Swift: I'm Never Going to Talk About Katy Perry
Teen Encouraged Friend to Commit Suicide, Police Say
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!