Billionaire banking heir and cryptocurrency investor Matthew Mellon has died aged 54, reportedly at a rehabilitation center in Cancun, Mexico.
His cousin Peter Stephaich confirmed Mellon’s death but declined on Tuesday to provide any details. Mellon, who is survived by his first wife, Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon, his second wife, fashion designer Nicole Hanley, and three children, had struggled with an addiction to painkillers for some time.
Mellon comes from the Mellon and Drexel families of Bank of New York Mellon and Drexel Burnham Lambert, and made his billions with early investments in cryptocurrency.
A representative of the billionaire said in a statement to The New York Post: “Billionaire Matthew Mellon, 53, died suddenly in Cancun, Mexico, where he was attending a drug rehabilitation facility.
“Mellon made his fortune in cryptocurrency, turning a $2 million investment into $1 billion. He is survived by his three children, Force, Olympia and Minty. The family asks that their privacy be respected at this very painful time.”
According to Mellon’s Linked In account and documents of the Securities and Exchange Commission, he attended the Wharton School and later worked in fashion, telecommunications and finance, most recently as an adviser for the digital currency company Ripple Labs, where he made his billions.
Mellon also served for a time as the chairman of the finance committee of the Republican Party in New York.
But he had battled addiction to the OxyContin painkiller in recent years, after first being prescribed the drug for a painful surfing injury.
In 2016, he told The Post, “OxyContin is like legal heroin. And it needs to be addressed,” while at a Malibu treatment centre for his $100,000 a month habit. However, his recent investments saw him listed this year in Forbes.
Tamara Mellon, who had daughter Araminta, aka Minty, with Mellon, said in 2013: “He keeps fighting and coming back.”
The pair had had a rocky past, including Mellon being accused of hiring a private detective to snoop into his wife’s finances during their divorce in 2004.
When the case went to trial he was acquitted, but his long struggle with addiction was highlighted when Tamara Mellon testified that the pair met at Narcotics Anonymous while both were in recovery.
The two married in 1999 at Blenheim Palace, one of England’s grandest homes, with friends Elizabeth Hurley and actor Hugh Grant among the guests. They divorced several years later.