Billionaire SIR John Paul Getty died yesterday (17APR03) aged 70 in a London hospital.

The reclusive philanthropist passed away following a recurrent chest complaint.

DR JOHN GOLDSTONE says, "Sadly, Sir Paul passed away at 10.40am. His family would like to extend their thanks to all those who have expressed their sympathy, which is greatly appreciated."

Getty was most famous for his art donations - giving at least $180 million (GBP120 million) to museums including Britain's NATIONAL GALLERY and the BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE.