Tragedy as John Chamberlain’s Stepdaughter Dies After Fall From Fifth Avenue Apartment

Fairweather, who was an artist, had a history of mental illness and instability.

Phoebe Fairweather in 2013. Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com

Phoebe Fairweather, the 23-year-old stepdaughter of famed sculptor John Chamberlain, fell to her death yesterday after jumping from the 16th floor of her family’s apartment at 800 Fifth Avenue. The Daily Mail reports that Fairweather was rushed to New York Presbyterian hospital after landing in a garden, but died of injuries sustained from the fall.

Fairweather, who was also an artist, had a history of mental illness and instability. According to authorities, she told relatives she believed the FBI was watching her and that someone had implanted a device in her chest. Earlier this summer, she disappeared from her family’s home on Shelter Island, only to turn up in New York a day later.

800 Fufth Avenue. Photo: City Realty.

800 Fifth Avenue.
Photo: City Realty.

She had recently dropped out of Barnard College to pursue a career as an artist. On her personal website, Fairweather writes that she “focuses on creating small-scale soulful pieces . . . that are in dialogue with the great artists of the past, such as Joan Mitchell, Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, and, most notably, her late step-father, John Chamberlain.”

The Daily Mail reports that FedEx worker Gail Garcia noticed Fairweather lingering by the edge of the building and attempted to call to her. “I know the 16th floor is very high, but I felt like God could just transport that message to her,” she said, “because there’s nothing that hard in this world that we should get to this point.”

A doorman at the nearby Pierre Hotel told the New York Daily News that he heard Garcia yelling to Fairweather in both English and Spanish, as she wasn’t sure which language the girl spoke. “She was speaking to her in Spanish because she thought she was Spanish,” he recalls. “But she just pushed herself off.”

Phoebe Fairweather in 2013.  Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com

Phoebe Fairweather in 2013.
Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com

Fairweather’s mother is Prudence Fairweather, a New York art advisor who married Chamberlain in 1996. Her sister is Alexandra Fairweather, a filmmaker and entrepreneur.

Chamberlain, who died in 2011, is best known for his Abstract Expressionist sculptures created from crushed cars and scrap metal, which have been displayed in museums and galleries around the world.

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