Rockefeller died in his sleep at home in Pocantico Hills, New York, on Monday morning as a result of congestive heart failure, according to a family spokesperson Fraser P. Seitel.
The businessman, who had an estimated fortune of $3 billion, retired as head of Chase Manhattan in 1981 after a 35-year career.
In the statement from the The Rockefeller Foundation confirming his death, Rockefeller was described as “one of the most influential figures in the history of American philanthropy and finance, considered by many to be ‘America's last great international business statesman’.”
Rockefeller, also known as ‘the banker’s banker’, according to the statement, is said to have donated almost $2 billion over his lifetime to various institutions including Rockefeller University, Harvard University and art museum.
David was the youngest of six children born to John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller.
Rockefeller graduated from Harvard in 1936 and received a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940. Appointed president of Chase Manhattan in 1961, he became chairman and CEO eight years later.
Rockefeller often spoke about the importance of American capitalism, which he said “brought more benefits to more people than any other system in any part of the world at any time in history.”
"The problem is to see that the system is run as efficiently and as honestly as it can be," he added.
Rockefeller was married to Margaret McGrath from 1940 until her death in 1996 and the couple had six children.
1. According to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, Rockefeller was asked by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in March 1979 to help find refuge for the deposed Shah of Iran and his family. The cables note that Rockefeller “has now agreed to assist in locating alternative refuge for Shah and entourage”, and that he “apparently agreed to make discreet approaches” on behalf of the Shah’s sister.
The cable also said that he wanted to keep his involvement quiet: “David Rockefeller would like to minimize knowledge of his own involvement in view of interests in Iran.”
2. David’s brother, Nelson Rockefeller, was the 31st vice-president of the United States, serving under President Gerald Ford from 1974 to 1977.
3. Rockefeller attended meetings of the secretive Bilderberg Group, frequented by world leaders and influential business people.
4. One popular online theory surrounding Rockefeller is that he broke the world record for most heart transplants with up to seven, the last one allegedly as recent as last year. However, there’s no record of any patient ever receiving that number of heart transplants – even those who receive two such transplants over their lifetime is rare.
5. During his 35 years at Chase Manhattan Bank, he visited more than 103 countries and clocked up more than 5 million air miles – the equivalent of 200 trips around the world.
6. The wealth amassed by the Rockefeller family has led to an impressive art collection, including the bronze gilded Prometheus sculpture by American artist Paul Manship and 15th century Unicorn Tapestries gifted to the Met Museum. David Rockefeller’s childhood home – an eight-story mansion at 10 West 54th Street, New York City – is now the site of Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden.
Meanwhile, his father’s dressing room, dating from the 1870s, is also on show at New York’s Met Museum. John D Rockefeller’s former bedroom, described as a “true model of late 19th century decorative arts”, is exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
7. In 2015, Rockefeller marked his 100th birthday by donating 1,000 acres of land in Seal Harbor, Maine to the Mount Desert Island and Garden Preserve as a “gift to all the people of Maine”.
Nov. 25, 2006
"Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure---one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
--David Rockefeller, Memoirs, page 405
"We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promise of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The super-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."
---David Rockefeller, at a 1991 Bilderberger meeting
"We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."
"But this present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for long. Already there are powerful forces at work that threaten to destroy all of our hopes and efforts to erect an enduring structure of global interdependence."
---David Rockefeller, speaking at the Business Council for the United Nations, September 14, 1994
"Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution, it has obviously succeeded not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community of purpose. The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history."
---David Rockefeller, statement about Mao Tse-tung in The New York Times, August 10, 1973