Obit

German Billionaire Suicide

Adolf Merckle, one of Germany's richest men, has committed suicide after talks with creditors failed to save his business empire, which spanned from pharmaceuticals to cement. Merckle's personal wealth was estimated by Forbes to be about $9 billion, and he was known as a modest man who bicycled to work. Merckle was particularly hurt when, after shorting Volkswagen, the auto company's share price jumped after Porsche unexpectedly revealed it controlled more of VW than previously believed. He died after being hit by a train. In a statement, his family said, "The desperate situation of his companies caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainties of the last few weeks and his powerlessness to act, have broken the passionate family entrepreneur."