Liz Hurley has paid tribute to her multimillionaire ex Steve Bing – the father of her son Damian – after he jumped to his death from the 27th floor of his Los Angeles apartment block amid a battle with depression.
The British actress, 55, said she was ‘saddened beyond belief’ at the news of his suicide, at the luxurious Ten Thousand Building at 1pm on Monday, calling it a ‘terrible end’.
The real estate heir, also 55 and thought to be worth $590million at the time of his death, took his own life having become depressed amid a lack of human contact during lockdown, sources told TMZ.
Hurley dated Bing for 18 months between 2000 and 2002 before they split amid a bitter paternity row when he initially refused to have anything to do with his son, but revealed on Tuesday that they had recently reconnected.
Paying tribute to her ex on Instagram this morning, she wrote: ‘Although we went through some tough times, it’s the good, wonderful memories of a sweet, kind man that matter.
‘In the past year we had become close again. We last spoke on our son’s 18th birthday. This is devastating news and I thank everyone for their lovely messages.’
Damian also uploaded his own Instagram post, calling news of his father’s death ‘devastating’ and adding: ‘This is a very strange and confusing time and I’m immensely grateful to be surrounded by my phenomenal friends and family.’
A one-time Vegas high-roller and strip-club aficionado who was ‘dedicated in equal parts to philanthropy, politics and women’, Bing used his wealth to immerse himself in the glamour of Hollywood, producing films such as Get Carter, starring Sylvester Stallone, and Polar Express, with Tom Hanks.
He was also known for his scandalous private life, including fathering son Damian by Liz Hurley and daughter Kira Kerkorian by tennis player Lisa Bonder.
Both children had to undergo paternity tests to prove he was their father – with Bonder’s ex-husband, MGM billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, even hiring a private detective to acquire a sample of Bing’s DNA as evidence.
Bing and Hurley were also involved in a bitter paternity fight, with a court-ordered DNA test eventually proving he was the father. He is not thought to have been close with either child, though supported them financially – paying £100,000-a-year into a trust fund for him to access when he turned 18.
During a subsequent inheritance fight with father Peter in which he tried to cut both children out of his will, it was claimed that Steve had never even met Damian. He and Hurley hit back, and ultimately won the case.
Former president Bill Clinton, a friend of Bing and recipient of his donations via the Clinton Foundation, also paid tribute to him, tweeting: ‘I loved Steve Bing very much.
‘He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he’s finally found peace.’
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger said: ‘It’s so sad to hear of Steve Bing’s passing. He was such a kind and generous friend and supported so many good and just causes. I will miss him very much.’
Publicist Michelle Bega told Sky News that she was ‘overwhelmed trying to process this unbelievable and sad event’.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Olson added: ‘Steve Bing was my friend and my partner. He was a good man who loved movies and music and cared passionately about fairness. Simple but important concept. I loved him. Depression is f***ing horrible. Hold your friends close.’
Iconic songwriter Diane Warren said : ‘Here’s the thing, everyone has to deal with pain. U might thing they have everything, money success, fancy cars fancy friends. NONE OF THAT S**T MATTERS. Steve Bing U were such a good man and so loved. So very sorry no one could take away your pain.’
Actress Rosanna Arquette tweeted: ‘This is very sad and disturbing news… Rest In Peace steve.’
Bing was a well-known donor to liberal causes, having signed up to the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett ‘Giving Pledge’ to give away the majority of his wealth in his lifetime.
Most recently, he supported Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, donating some $2,800, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
He also made headlines in 2009 when he paid for the flight that Clinton used to bring two journalists from North Korea to the US after they were locked up on charges of spying.
Bing’s fortune originated from his grandfather Leo, one of the founding members of New York real estate developer Bing & Bing, who built some of the city’s most iconic apartment buildings in the 1920s and 30s.
Working with architect Emery Roth, they built luxury Art Deco-inspired red-brick buildings on both the Upper West and East sides of Manhattan.
Steve’s father, Peter Bing, is a respected doctor who worked on public health issues for the Johnson administration and had close links to Stanford University, where he served as a Chair and Trustee having donated $50million to the college.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Chris Pleasance, Kelby Vera, and Harriet Alexander