Huguette Clark, Reclusive Heiress, Dies at 104

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Huguette Clark, a reclusive multi-millionaire heiress whose estate remains shrouded in mystery, died in New York City on Tuesday at the age of 104.

The copper heiress died at Beth Israel Medical Center, where she lived in seclusion for 22 years after cutting herself off from friends and family.

She's worth $500 million, including a $100 million Santa Barbara estate, a $23 million home in Connecticut and a $100 million 5th Ave. apartment.

In recent years, the management of her estate has come under scrutiny, and is under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney's office.

"Madame Clark's passing is a sad event for everyone who loved and respected her," her lawyer's spokesman, Michael McKeon, said. "She died as she wanted, with dignity and privacy. We intend to continue to respect her wishes for privacy."

Family members first learned of Clark's death through media reports yesterday, but the news was later confirmed by her lawyer, Wallace Bock.

Bock notoriously denied the family access to Huguette Clark for years, saying that she explicitly told him she "does not want visitors and she does not want anyone - including her relatives - to know where she resides."

She was cared for by a team of nurses, was registered in the hospital under a fake name, and even made a lawyer speak to her through a door.

In 2010, three of Clark's relatives grew alarmed that her finances were being managed inappropriately after reports said she donated $1.5 million to build a security system at an Israeli settlement where Bock's daughter lives.

They ultimately went to court seeking an independent guardian to manage her vast fortune, only yo have a judge rebuff their request.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Bock and Clark's accountant, Irving Kamsler, have mishandled her accounts. No charges have been filed.

Huguette Clark grew up in an era of epic New York families, including the Rockefellers, the Astors and Guggenheims. Her copper tycoon father, William Andrews Clark, was once the second-richest man in the United States.

She reportedly once told friends that wealth was a "menace to happiness," and she craved nothing more than staying home to play with dolls.

Clark married once but never had children, and later divorced. The last known photograph taken of her was more than 80 years ago.

McKeon said she made a will but would not reveal the beneficiaries.

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