April 1, 2015 / 12:01 AM / 4 years ago

Getty oil heir's death seen as likely accidental or natural

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Andrew Getty, the grandson of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, died from what appears to have been accidental or natural causes, but an autopsy is not expected to be performed before Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

The 47-year-old heir to the Getty oil fortune was found dead on Tuesday afternoon at his Hollywood Hills home, his parents said in a statement in which they asked for privacy for the family. Police said there was no immediate sign of foul play.

“At first glance, it does not appear to be a criminal type of act. But that could change,” Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Commander Andrew Smith said on Tuesday night.

He said the investigation was in its early stages and that witnesses were being questioned, though no one had been taken into custody.

The medical examiner assigned to the case was expected to begin her investigation on Wednesday afternoon, and an autopsy would be performed on Getty’s body on Thursday at the earliest, the coroner’s watch commander, Mario Sainz, told Reuters.

Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office spokesman Ed Winter told reporters at a Tuesday news conference that Getty’s death appeared to have been from either accidental or natural causes.

“He had some medication that we recovered and don’t know if he had taken the medication or what his medical history is,” Winter said. “We do have a doctor’s name that we’re also going to follow up.”

A coroner’s spokesman said preliminary observations at the scene did not indicate trauma or foul play.

Celebrity news website TMZ.com reported on Tuesday Getty was found on a bathroom floor, apparently by a former girlfriend, and that she had been detained by police as a potential witness or suspect. Andrew Getty had sought a restraining order against a woman two weeks earlier, The Los Angeles Times said.

Slideshow (4 Images)

TMZ on Wednesday cited unnamed law enforcement sources in reporting that Getty had been suffering severe gastrointestinal problems and had an appointment to see a doctor on Wednesday.

Andrew Getty was said to be a horror film buff and was in the process of making such a movie, with props found strewn around parts of his home, according to TMZ.

J. Paul Getty died in 1976. He was one of America’s richest people.

Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Sandra Maler

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