Leona Helmsley Inherits Empire

Associated Press

Harry Helmsley, the billionaire whose holdings included the Empire State Building, left virtually his entire estate to his widow, Leona, according to his will filed in court Thursday.

Helmsley died of pneumonia Saturday at age 87 in Scottsdale, Ariz. His 18-page will was dated Jan. 25, 1994.

"I appoint my wife, Leona M. Helmsley, as executor of this will," Helmsley stated. He said all his real estate and personal property go to her to keep or sell as she sees fit.

The will did not state the exact value of Helmsley's estate. In October, Forbes magazine estimated Helmsley's personal fortune at $1.7 billion. It listed Helmsley Enterprises, with real estate holdings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and Houston, as 76th on its list of the 400 largest private firms in the United States, with revenues of $1.77 billion.

Besides his wife, Helmsley left $25,000 to his longtime secretary, Ceil Fried. Helmsley had no children of his own. Leona Helmsley's son from a previous marriage died.

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