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The 15 Richest People To Ever Be Murdered

As the Notorious B.I.G. said, "Mo Money, Mo Problems." That has certainly been true for a number of rich people, including kidnapping victims Patty Hearst and John Paul Getty III, who were targeted because of their families wealth. While both lived, Getty had to lose an ear before his parents were convinced to pay the ransom, and Hearst was sent to jail for bank robbery

Still, those fates are nothing compared to how the richest murder victims suffered. It turns out many of them were killed for their wealth. These wealthy murder victims left behind enormous estates, sometimes to the very people who murdered them. But some of these millionaire murders––and billionaire murders––happened for even more shocking reasons.

From America's richest president to an Egyptian billionaire spy, and from music legends to fashion legends, no one was safe. 

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  • In 1966, John Lennon flippantly claimed his band, the Beatles, was "more popular than Jesus." The comment got him in a lot of hot water, but Lennon might have gotten away with it if he'd said he was richer than Jesus. Lennon's net worth is valued at $800 million, and that number is still going up.

    Music legend Lennon had a long and productive career, both with the Beatles and as a solo artist. But on December 8, 1980, Lennon was shot and killed in New York City by a crazed fan. 

    • Birthplace: Liverpool, Eurasia, Lancashire, North West England, United Kingdom
    • Born: 10-09-1940
  • Nicholas II Of Russia
    Photo: Boissonnas & Eggler / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The last Romanov tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, was brutally murdered, along with his entire family, in 1918. The political murders happened in the middle of a civil war between supporters of the monarchy and the Bolsheviks, who overthrew the government in 1917 under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin.

    The Romanovs had ruled Russia for over 300 years, and in that time they amassed quite a fortune, estimated at $300 billion when Nicholas II was killed. 

    • Birthplace: Tsarskoye Selo, Pushkin, Saint Petersburg, Russia
    • Born: 05-18-1868
  • Tupac Shakur
    Photo: Albert Watson / MTV Networks / Amaru Entertainment / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur symbolized '90s gangsta rap - and it may have led to his murder. During the East Coast versus West Coast battle, Shakur had a feud with Biggie Smalls that left both of them dead. On September 13, 1996, Shakur died after a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. His East Coast rivals were the prime suspects, but the murder remains unsolved

    Shakur's legacy includes 11 platinum albums, seven of which were released after his death. His net worth is a reported $40 million.

    • Birthplace: East Harlem, New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Born: 06-16-1971
  • Michael Rockefeller
    Photo: HurayforZay / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0

    John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in the world when he died in 1937, with the equivalent of $340 billion in modern dollars. And today the family is still worth an estimated $10 billion. So when Michael Rockefeller, son of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller mysteriously went missing in New Guinea in 1961 while on an anthropology trip, it made big headlines.

    Rumors swirled Michael had been killed and eaten by cannibals. In 2014, Carl Hoffman argued in his book Savage Harvest Michael had been murdered by men from a local tribe as an act of revenge for a 1958 confrontation with Dutch officials. His body has never been found.

    • Born: 05-18-1938
  • Ashraf Marwan

    Egyptian billionaire Ashraf Marwan mysteriously fell from the balcony of his London apartment in 2007. In addition to his wealth, Marwan was married to the daughter of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, and he spied for Israel during tense years between Egypt and Israel. But was Marwan a double agent? And was his death payback for sharing secrets with the enemy? Or was his killer motivated by money? It sounds like something out of a thriller, and today the murder remains unsolved.

    • Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
    • Born: 02-02-1944
  • The Notorious B.I.G.
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Hip-hop artist Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., was the biggest-selling male-solo artist on the Billboard charts in 1995. But his friendship with Tupac Shakur turned into a feud after Shakur was non-fatally shot in 1994 and blamed Smalls. Less than two years later, Shakur was killed in a shooting, and once again Smalls was a suspect. Just months later, Smalls himself was shot to death in a drive-by shooting. 

    Small's last album, Life After Death, was released two weeks later, and went on to sell 10 million copies. While his net worth was $20 million at his death, his estate has grown to $160 million in the last two decades. 

    • Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York, Clinton Hill
    • Born: 05-21-1972