EXCLUSIVE: Banking heir playboy Matthew Mellon, 53, 'died from a heart attack in Mexico rehab after taking hallucinogenic drug Ayahuasca while 90 days sober’ - amid fears his crypto fortune has now DISAPPEARED
- Ex-husband of Jimmy Choo guru Tamara Mellon died of a heart attack in rehab
- Mellon had previously battled cocaine addiction and later OxyContin, where he was spending $100,000 a month and taking about 80 pills a day
- He was 88 days sober when he returned to the Cancun clinic for 'maintenance'
- According to a family friend he took the hallucinogenic drug Ayahuasca in rehab but it’s not clear how he came across the drug
- He has previously extolled the virtues of Ibogaine treatment he received in Cancun - Ibogaine is a psychedelic banned from being prescribed in the US
- A rep said in a statement: 'Billionaire Matthew Mellon, 53, died suddenly in Cancun, Mexico, where he was attending a drug rehabilitation facility'
- Mellon supposedly made a fortune in cryptocurrency, turning a $2million investment into $1billion
- His family are now unable to access his crypto fortune
Matthew Mellon, the ex-husband of Jimmy Choo guru Tamara Mellon, died of a heart attack after taking the hallucinogenic drug Ayahuasca in a Mexican rehab facility, a family friend has revealed.
Mellon, who had been battling an OxyContin addiction and once spent $100,000 a month on the drug, was 88 days sober when he took his private jet to the Cancun center for 'maintenance'.
A friend of the family, speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com said: 'His family are in shock. He was 88 days sober and doing really well. He returned to the clinic for 'maintenance' and took his private jet there a few days ago. He had a heart attack after taking Ayahuasca'.
It is not clear at this point how Mellon got access to the drug and in what conditions he took it.
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Final photo: Matthew Mellon, 53, pictured left, just weeks ago looking healthy and happy in Palm beach. He was believed to be 88 days sober when he entered the Cancun rehab clinic
(L-R) Second wife Nicole Hanley Mellon, Matthew Mellon, first ex-wife Tamara Mellon and Minty Mellon are pictured on December 9, 2010 in New York City. He has died aged 53 in rehab in Mexico
He shared this photo in 2015 of himself with his three children, eldest daughter Minty, daughter Olympia and son Force, and then-wife Nicole by the front door of the Pierre, where he and Nicole lived in an apartment. He died of a heart attack after taken hallucinogens
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive tea or infusion that has been used in traditional medicine and shaman practices for centuries in the Amazon region of South America. The tea is prepared from a number of different plant species, some which include the psychedelic chemical, dimethyltryptamine, or DMT.
Ayahuasca is used by certain rehab facilities for its healing properties and to explore their inner mind, fears, hopes and dreams with spiritual guidance.
In 2016 Mellon extolled a previous stint he did in rehab in Cancun.
In a photo on instagram of himself on a dock in Cancun, Mellon wrote, 'A Spiritual crossing in Cancun with #ibogaine Let me know if you ever hit a wall in life and you need help I will send you here for free on me!'
Ibogaine is a psychedelic drug which is not approved for any medical uses in the United States but which some people say helps with drug addiction.
Multiple rehab facilities in Mexico advertise the treatment to addicts.
According to a 2010 biography of Mellon's former lover, the late Isabella Blow, Mellon once raised $10million for research into Ibogaine.
It is unknown if the rehab center where he died is also an Ibogaine treatment facility.
Mellon shared this photo on Instagram in October 2016 at the end of a previous rehab stint in Cancun, extolling the virtues of the psychedelic drug ibogaine, which is used to treat drug addiction abroad but is illegal to prescribe in the U.S.
According to the family friend, Mellon's family have since been unable to trace the fortune he made in crypto-currency and worry that it has 'disappeared'.
'Something weird has happened to all his crypto money and his family can't find it'.
His body is expected to be cremated.
A confidante of Mellon's New York art expert Stacy Engman, who was with the banking heir in Palm Beach before he took his private jet to the Mexico rehab facility, said: 'Matthew was so committed to sobriety, he was three months clean and doing so well.
'He had extensive travel plans and was expecting to go to Hong Kong after Mexico. My understanding was that it was just a check-up.
'He was literally drinking cups of tea and doing the whole holistic, herbal thing.
'I was very proud of his commitment. He was family to me and he was trying to be his best for all of us, with the brightest future ahead. Saying this is a tragic loss, is an understatement. He was a brilliant visionary.'
In 2016, Matthew blamed doctors for his addiction, saying they were 'writing prescriptions like they were Smarties.'
In 2017 he was trying other means to sobriety, sharing this photo of himself in Malibu on a vitamin and amino acid drip called NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which bills itself as a holistic cure for addiction
Matthew is pictured with bride Tamara at their wedding in the UK in 2000. They met in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting
At the time, he was checked into Passages Malibu, an addiction-treatment center popular with boldfaced names, and said that he was determined to battle the addiction, telling Page Six, 'I'm here as long as it takes.'
He made a fortune in crypto-currencies, buying and selling off his Bitcoin a number of years ago, before splashing out $2million to acquire XRP coins, which eventually grew to be worth $1billion.
In February, Matthew told Forbes that he liked XRP, used by currency exchange network Ripple, because it was one of the handful of cryptocurrencies that actually operated within the traditional banking system.
'Crypto is scary and dark. It's anti-America,' Mellon told Forbes, explaining that he chose Ripple because he is 'pro-America, pro-business and pro-bank.'
Matthew (center), pictured with wedding guests Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley, at his wedding to Tamara Mellon, which was held at Blenheim Palace
He stayed friends with Hurley, sharing this photo of himself with the bikini mogul in 2013
In 2015 he shared this 2009 photo of himself with friends and fellow trust funders Stavros Niarchos, center, and Alex von Furstenberg, right, whose mother Diane hosted Mellon's second wedding
Matthew's eldest child is daughter Araminta, aka Minty, from his marriage to ex-wife Tamara Mellon.
In excerpts from her autobiography, In My Shoes, published in the Daily Mail in 2013, she wrote that she and Matthew met at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in London in 1998 and embarked on a six month transatlantic relationship that culminated with a marriage proposal involving a helicopter, poetry and a rose petal-strewn limousine.
They married in 2000, at a ceremony held at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill, attended by 300 guests including Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley.
Tamara, who the co-founder and former chief creative officer of couture shoe makers Jimmy Choo, wrote that Matthew suffered from a cocaine addiction during their marriage.
Mellon is pictured in NYC in 2014. By his 21st birthday, had inherited $25million — with 13 more trusts to come his way
'Matthew had so many talents and admirable qualities – it’s unfortunate that emotional stability was not among them,' Tamara wrote in her book.
'Once we were back in London, life did not become any easier. I was in the office every day, working hard, and Matthew had nothing but free time on his hands – and I’d come home and find him freebasing cocaine in the kitchen.
'Then his addiction would take over and he might step out to buy a paper and not come back for days. I was constantly trying to track him down, calling family members, calling car services, knowing that he was capable of turning up anywhere in the world.
'He would check into hotels, start getting the paranoid delusions of cocaine psychosis, then leave without paying his bill. And then, of course, the hotel managers would call me to clean up after him and settle his accounts.'
Tamara wrote that Matthew was sent to rehab for the first time while still in college and inherited his father's bipolar illness.
She also recalled the occasion in which she and Matthew's friend, Henry Dent-Brocklehurst, tracked Matthew down at a crack house in London's Notting Hill.
Matthew is pictured with wife Nicole at the OMEGA Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Launch Event, New York, in June 2014. They split up the next year. She recently remarried
Happier times: The couple posed up with Air Force One with their son Force in this 2014 snap
She described coming across a 'gangster-type sitting alone in the kitchen, with Matthew’s wallet on the table in front of him.'
'For a moment I feared he had been murdered,' Tamara wrote. 'Then Henry said to the drug dealer: "You’d better tell us where he is, otherwise you’re going to be looking down the wrong end of a shotgun."
'It was all bluster, and the dealer was not terribly impressed. Later, we learned Matthew had been hiding under a bed.'
Tamara said that she tried to keep Matthew sober, but that his drug problems only got worse after their daughter, Minty, was born in 2002.
A year later, after he relapsed and disappeared during a bender that lasted for several days during a trip to Ibiza, Tamara broke it off with Matthew.
Tamara and Matthew Melon are seen in this 2003 photo. Tamara said that she tried to keep Matthew sober, but that his drug problems only got worse after their daughter, Minty, was born in 2002
But further drama was to come when Matthew was arrested for hacking into Tamara's computers.
In her book she says: 'I began to receive emails claiming to have "things on your soon-to-be-ex husband".
'I thought this sounded not only sleazy but creepy. The Metropolitan Police showed up and asked to examine my computer.
'They explained that the emails I’d been receiving were Trojan horse messages containing viruses. If opened, this malware could record every keystroke on my keyboard.
'It transpired Matthew had hired a company called Active Investigation Services to explore my electronic transactions. This company was run by a couple of former policemen who were already under surveillance for a lucrative sideline in illegal wire-tapping and computer hacking. To keep Matthew on the hook, they’d even sent him a bogus email, supposedly from my lawyer, alluding to several million I’d supposedly secreted away in Malaysia.
'The climax of this series of events occurred when London’s finest raided Matthew’s apartment at 6am and took him away in handcuffs. My husband was charged with criminal conspiracy and faced the possibility of five years in prison.
Matthew Mellon is pictured at Southwark Crown Court in London in 2006 during his trial
In 2013 he shared this photo of himself with John Bolton, now an advisor to Donald Trump
'In April 2007, I received a subpoena to testify at Matthew’s trial. The proceedings were at Southwark Crown Court and I appeared on May 3.
'The issue, at least insofar as Matthew was concerned, was whether he was criminally responsible for authorizing the illegal hacking of my computer. There was no question that he’d given the indicted investigators £12,000 ($17,000) and that he’d signed the contract.
'But that still left the issue of responsibility – knowing what was going on, knowing that it was illegal, and then doing it anyway. When I saw him on trial, my heart went out to him. I thought, ‘Oh boy. You’re really in over your head this time.’
'As the victim of Matthew’s supposed crime, I was actually called as a witness for the prosecution. This was no time to gild the lily, so I simply told the truth. I said being married to Matthew was like having another child. I said he couldn’t keep up with his bills or bank accounts and that he missed aeroplanes the way other people miss buses.
'When asked about Matthew’s reading habits and powers of concentration, I simply said that my husband couldn’t manage a comic book, much less a legal document. The courtroom erupted.
'The trial took six weeks, with the jury deliberating for five days. Two of the detectives were convicted, but happily Matthew was not.'
Despite all the drama the two remained close, so much so that Tamara would be a guest at Matthew's second marriage and they continued to jointly raise Minty.
Matthew pictured with son, Force Mellon (left), at a Hanley Mellon fashion show in 2015. Tamara pictured with Matthew and her daughter, Minty Mellon, in 2004
Matthew's two other children, son, Force, and daughter, Olympia, are from his second marriage to ex-wife, Nicole Hanley Mellon, herself an heiress.
Matthew and Nicole met in 2006 at a wedding in Palm Beach, Florida, they told the New York Times in 2014, months before launching their clothing line, Hanley Mellon.
Matthew proposed to Nicole in 2008 and they married in 2010, at an impromptu ceremony at family friend Diane Von Furstenberg's home in the Bahamas' Harbor Island.
Famous friends: Mellon shared this photo of himself with Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece in 2015. Pavlos called him 'a fun guy' in 2014
The pair lived in a massive apartment atop Manhattan's Pierre Hotel.
They would later split in 2015, divorce in 2016 and Nicole recently remarried Brett Pickett, whose father owned an NFL team.
Matthew was born in New York City in 1964 and raised in Palm Beach, Florida, and Northeast Harbor, Maine.
He was a direct decedent of Thomas Alexander Mellon, founder of what's now known as The Bank of New York Mellon, aka BNY Mellon, on his father, Karl Mellon's, side.
On his mother, Anne Stoke's, side, he was also the direct descendant of Anthony Joseph Drexel, a banker who founded Wall Street firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. According to W Magazine, Matthew's father, Karl Mellon, committed suicide in 1983, when Matthew was 18.
His aunt was Bunny Mellon - the noted socialite, funder of John Edwards and friend of Jackie Kennedy who died in 2014.
By his 21st birthday, had inherited $25million spread across 14 trust funds.
He shared this photo with friend an dfamous guitarist Nile Rodgers
While at Penn he bought a 10-bedroom house just for parties, bought the first BMW M5 in America and had a speedboat.
He also dated fellow Penn student Tory Burch.
He then moved to LA, bought Ferraris, a home in Malibu, a home in Beverly Hills and spent time with infamous madame Heidi Fleiss and her girls.
Many of his friends also had famous last names - including Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, who told Forbes in 2014 that Mellon is 'a fun guy'.
He went through much of his trust fund largess.
Matthew attended and graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He was the chairman of the New York Republican Party's finance committee from 2011 to 2013, during which time he raised funds for the party.
In 2016, he told Page Six that he developed his $100,000 per month OxyContin addiction after getting hooked on prescriptions given to him by doctors following a surfing injury.
OxyContin, a time-release version of oxycodone, has long been the world's top-selling opioid painkiller and was hailed as a breakthrough treatment for chronic pain when it was approved in late 1995.
Meant to work over 12 hours to maintain a steady level of oxycodone in patients suffering from a wide range of pain ailments, some users quickly discovered they could get a heroin-like high by crushing the pills and snorting or injecting the entire dose at once.
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