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(CNN) -- German billionaire Adolf Merckle, one of the richest men in the world, committed suicide Monday after his business empire got into trouble in the wake of the international financial crisis, Merckle's family said Tuesday in a statement.
Merckle, 74, was hit by a train in the southwestern town of Ulm, police said.
His family said the economic crisis had "broken" Merckle.
He was number 94 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people. He had fallen from number 44 on the Forbes 2007 rich list as his fortune declined from $12.8 billion to $9.2 billion in 2008.
Merckle's business empire included interests as diverse as cement-maker HeidelbergCement and generic drug-maker Ratiopharm. But he lost hundreds of millions of dollars, including company capital, betting against Volkswagen stock last year.
Originally posted by HunkaHunka
Whoa.. wait a minute.
So you lost millions... you are a BILLIONAIRE. And 74 to boot. This guy makes it to 74 and the loss of millions breaks him?
Am I missing something here?
There has got to be more to it I would think. Maybe not, but it's tough to add up in my mind. Maybe he felt horrible for the job losses which would result of the cuts he would have to make to make up for it... who knows.
But it just smells like we are only getting half the story here.
You know, you hear all the stories of suicide by millionaires during the depression, but this is just surreal.
According to reports in the German media, he left a suicide note in which he apologised to his family, but offered no concrete reasons or motives. Prosecutors said they did not believe anyone else was involved in his death.
A railway worker found the businessman's body on the track 300 metres from the family home, and his family confirmed the identity of the body.