Richard Rockefeller, the great-grandson of the legendary founder of Standard Oil, died on Friday when the small airplane he was piloting crashed in suburban New York, a family spokesman said.
In addition to being related to John D. Rockefeller, Richard Rockefeller, 64, was the son of banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller and the nephew of former Vice President and New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, family spokesman Fraser Seitel told the Los Angeles Times.
"It is a terrible tragedy and the family is in shock," Seitel said. "Richard was a wonderful and cherished member of the family. He was an experienced pilot and he was a medical doctor. It's horribly sad."
According to Seitel, Richard Rockefeller, of Falmouth, Maine, flew to Westchester to have dinner with his father, David, and to celebrate the patriarch's 99th birthday. On Friday, Richard Rockefeller was flying home alone in his single-engine plane, a Piper Meridian.
The plane took off shortly after 8 a.m. from Westchester County Airport and flew about 10 minutes before crashing about three miles away in Purchase, N.Y., a suburb of New York. Seitel said he couldn't discuss what had caused the accident. Agencies including the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
"He was an experienced pilot who had flown for many years," Seitel said of Richard Rockefeller. "He practiced family medicine in Portland and was very active in working on PTSD."
Richard Rockefeller is survived by his wife and their two children.