File - Rockefeller, second left, slices up a culinary replica of Rockefeller Center in New York.
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David Rockefeller, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist who was the last in his generation of one of the country's most famously philanthropic families, died Monday.Rockefeller died in his sleep at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York, according to his spokesman, Fraser P. Seitel.David Rockefeller, however, wielded power and influence without ever seeking public office.As one of the Rockefeller grandchildren, David belonged to the last generation in which the inherited family billions were concentrated in a few hands. The next generation, known as "the cousins," has much more people.Rockefeller was estimated to have met more than 200 rulers in more than 100 countries during his lifetime, and often was treated as if he were a visiting head of state.Rockefeller took a lot of heat for his bank's substantial dealings with South Africa's white separatist regime and for helping the deposed, terminally ill Shah of Iran come to New York for medical treatment in 1979, the move that triggered the 13-month U.S. embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.Rockefeller maintained the family's patronage of the arts, including its long-standing relationship with New York's Museum of Modern Art, of which his mother had been a fervent patron.
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