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JD Rockefeller's great-grandson dies in plane crash

NEW YORK--Richard Rockefeller, great-grandson of U.S. oil tycoon and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, died Friday in a plane crash in New York. He was 65.

Rockefeller was alone in a single-engine plane when it crashed near an airport in White Plains, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of New York.

The Piper PA-46 aircraft went down around 8:10 a.m. (1210 GMT) about a mile southwest of the airport, the Federal Aviation Agency said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told AFP.

Rockefeller was piloting the plane and was heading home to Portland, Maine after visiting New York for his father's 99th birthday.

“This was a terrible tragedy” for the Rockefeller family, spokesman Fraser Seitel said.

“Richard was a wonderful and cherished father, son, brother, husband and grandfather,” Seitel said. “He was a very experienced pilot, who, by profession, was a medical doctor.”

Rockefeller was a practicing doctor and medical school professor in Maine until 2000 and had remained involved in health-related nonprofit activities, according to his biography on the Rockefeller Brothers Fund website.

He served on the US advisory board of Doctors Without Borders for more than two decades until 2010.

Seitel said Rockefeller had focused in recent years on improving treatment options for and raising awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rockefeller had two grown children, a son and a daughter, as well as two stepsons and three grandchildren.

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