Billionaire Philanthropist Donald Drapkin Dies After Aspen Ski Accident
Drapkin collected contemporary art by Tracey Emin, Barnaby Furnas, and Robin Rhode.
Donald Drapkin, a prominent collector and hedge fund manager, died suddenly after a seemingly minor skiing accident at Snowmass mountain, in Aspen, Colorado, according to several reports.
Sue Hostetler, Drapkin’s partner and the editor-in-chief of Art Basel Magazine, told the Aspen Times that Drapkin was skiing with his son and a ski instructor on February 15, when he fell from a standing position and hit his head. Later upon becoming dizzy and nauseous, Drapkin was transported to a hospital where he underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Drapkin died on February 22.
“It is with immense sadness and heartbreak that I write to let you know that Don passed away … in Denver,” Hostetler said in an email sent to friends that was obtained by the New York Post. “The amount of love and support for Don over the last week has not only sustained his family and me, but has reconfirmed what an incredibly special and beloved person he was. He was a larger than life personality, so many people have reached out, it has been the most tremendous outpouring of love.”
Hostetler and Drapkin collected art together acquiring works by well-known contemporary artists including Tracey Emin, Barnaby Furnas, Robin Rhode, Lorna Simpson, and Thomas Struth.
Drapkin, 67, managed the activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital, and is a former partner of art collector and financier Ronald Perelman. Several years ago, Drapkin fell out with Perelman and his MacAndrews & Forbes holding company and, in 2012, received a $16-million judgment against Perelman for breach of contract. A 1993 profile in New York magazine described him as a “cocky, affable, middle-class kid from Forest Hills who graduated with honors from Columbia Law School,” and said he was a
“Perelman look-alike who is as close to the billionaire as a brother.”
“I was best friends with my partner for 25 years,”Drapkin, who was obviously sad about the split, told CNBC at the time. “I mourn the loss of that friendship.”
Prior to Columbia Law, Drapkin received a BA from Brandeis University.
Drapkin maintained homes in New York and Aspen. Until his death, he served on the board of directors of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers and had previously served on the boards of several other public companies, including Marvel Holdings Inc., Playboy Enterprises, and Revlon Inc.
At the time of his death, Drapkin served on the board of Lincoln Center Theater, the Aspen Music Festival, Theater Aspen, and the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation, Inc.. He was a member of the Dean’s Council of Columbia Law School, and the Anderson Ranch National Council in Snowmass, Colorado.
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