Edoardo Agnelli (9 June 1954 – 15 November 2000) was the eldest son of Gianni Agnelli the Italian industrialist patriarch of Fiat, and Marella Caracciolo, an Italian-American. Agnelli's death was ruled a suicide.
Agnelli was born in New York, in the United States. After studying at Atlantic College, he read modern literature and oriental philosophy at Princeton University, where he was allegedly given the nickname Crazy Eddie supposedly for his "wild behavior." After leaving Princeton he travelled to India, pursuing his interest in oriental religion and mysticism, and Iran, where he met Ayatollah Khamenei and was reported to have converted to Islam. According to La Repubblica Agnelli's preoccupations became increasingly erratic, "Mysticism, Franciscanism, drugs, Buddhism, lectures against Capital, praise of the poor, criticism of the behaviour of Fiat."
As an adult Agnelli claimed to be the heir apparent to the Fiat empire, but apparently his father, who had already been unhappy with Edoardo's timidity when he was a child, ensured that he would not inherit it. The only official position which the younger Agnelli held in the family businesses was as a director of Juventus football club, in which capacity he was present at the Heysel disaster.
In November 2000, 46 year old Agnelli's body was found, near Turin, Italy, on a river bed beneath a motorway viaduct, on which his car was found abandoned. The viaduct is known as the Bridge of Suicides. The death was considered by Italian investigators to have been a suicide.
A 2001 Iranian documentary film alleged, without offering any evidence, that Agnelli was the victim of a "Zionist plot" to prevent an alleged Muslim from becoming the head of Fiat, in spite of the fact that Agnelli was not an heir to Fiat. The documentary has cult status on Iranian television and is frequently repeated in prime-time slots. In the Italian press the documentary was commentated as ″building up an Urban Legend by Iranian authorities″. In 2003 it was circulated by FARS, a Iranian press agency linked to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to Corriere della Sera, the story is also enshrined at the Museum of Martyrs of Islam in Iran at Imam Sadiq University, which contains a portrait-shrine dedicated to Agnelli.
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- THE CHILDREN OF THE RICH & FAMOUS | CNN | 10 September 1990 | Alan Farnham
- The curse of inheritance: Do wealthy dynasties always make for happy heirs? | Belfast Telegraph | 19 July 2007
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This article page was created on 27 November 2010.