John Paul Getty III was born on November 4, 1956, as the grandson of oil billionaire, art and antique collector, Jean Paul Getty.
John’s parents divorced when he was young, and he started living with his father and stepmother in Rome.
After his stepmother’s death, his father left for England, and he started living in their home alone while partying with Mick and Bianca Jagger.
His life was going well until he was kidnapped off a street at approximately 3 am on July 10, 1973, and was imprisoned in a mountain hideout.
When the kidnappers sent a $17 Million ransom note to his mother, multiple family members suspected it to be one of John’s pranks.
His grandfather declined to pay ransom saying, more of his grandchildren would get kidnapped if he was to pay the ransom.
When the captors heard this, they sent home John III’s severed ear.
His grandfather later decided to pay the ransom on the condition that the money would come out of John’s inheritance.
The captors were a group of Calabrian Bandits who had connections to organized crime. They later reduced the ransom to $3 Million.
According to the Book ‘Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortune of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty’ by John Pearson, Jean Paul Getty paid a tax-deducted $2.2 Million to the captors.
He was found in an abandoned service station, quivering in a rainstorm, nine of his captors were arrested, and two were proven guilty.
The year he was released he married a German photographer, Martine Zacher who was five months pregnant.
They lived in New York, where John turned to heavy drug use and alcohol abuse.
His first son Balthazar Getty was born on January 22, 1975.
When he was 24, he overdosed on Valium, Methadone, alcohol and went into the weeks-long coma.
After he came back, he was partially blind, unable to talk and completely paralyzed. His marriage with Martine also ended in a divorce.
His mother was the only one willing to help; she sued his father for monthly medical supplies that John needed.
Due to long-time effects of the overdose, John Paul Getty III died at the age of 53 on February 5, 2011.
On his death, Balthazar Getty said ‘He taught us how to live our lives and overcome obstacles and extreme adversity, and we shall miss him dearly.’