Was fake news the cause of a Russian real estate mogul’s death? Igor Nekhluydov suffered a heart attack after hearing reports that a boy injured by his car died. The toddler, however, turned out to be OK.
News of the passing of the 71-year-old billionaire, Igor Nekhluydov, whose wealth was estimated by Forbes at $15 billion back in 2015, made headlines on Thursday. The real estate mogul from the Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk felt sick at work and was rushed to the hospital, but died of a heart attack in an emergency vehicle.
Nekhluydov made headlines days before his death in connection with a traffic accident in which some media claimed a toddler died as a result.
Earlier this week, the billionaire was involved in a minor traffic incident outside the recreation compound he owned, Argumenty i Fakty newspaper reported. While reversing, he accidentally hit a one-year-old boy with his car at low speed.
The toddler was back on his feet after the accident, a witness told the newspaper, noting “that his knees were lightly skinned.” According to other accounts, there was no contact at all between the boy and the car, as the child was simply running, lost his balance, and fell behind the vehicle.
Nekhluydov was shaken by the incident and took full responsibility for it. He personally saw to it that the toddler received the necessary medical treatment. He called for an ambulance to take the child in for X-rays in order to avoid any health complications.
But, a few days later, reports emerged in the local media that the child died in the hospital. It later turned out, however, that another one-year-old who was taken to the hospital after being run over by a car in another accident died.
The billionaire died on Thursday after the reports emerged, with his company saying the death was “unexpected.”
Despite his wealth, Nekhluydov tried to avoid publicity and was described as a workaholic by his colleagues and business partners. “He wasn’t just the head of a large family and a talented entrepreneur. Igor was always characterized by worldly wisdom and warmth. He gave all his strength to the work he loved,” Khabarovsk Municipal Region head Denis Udod said in a letter of condolences, cited by Rossiya 24 TV.
Nekhlyudov’s name previously came under the spotlight after his grandson, Grigory Mamurin, was exposed for having a controversial video blog in which he offered cash to people for undressing in the street or drinking urine to demonstrate the power of money in 2015. The billionaire was reportedly angered by the teenager’s behavior, and demanded his return from Moscow to Khabarovsk in order to keep a closer eye on him.
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