Edoardo Agnelli

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This article is about Gianni Agnelli's son. For Gianni Agnelli's father, see Edoardo Agnelli (industrialist).

Edoardo Agnelli (9 June 1954 – 15 November 2000) was the eldest son of Marella Agnelli (born Donna Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto) and Gianni Agnelli, the industrialist patriarch of Fiat.


Agnelli was born in New York to Italian parents (his maternal grandmother was American). After studying at Atlantic College, he read modern literature and oriental philosophy at Princeton University.[1]

After leaving Princeton he travelled in India, pursuing his interest in oriental religion and mysticism,[1] and Iran, where he met Ayatollah Khamenei and was reported to have converted to Islam.[2] According to La Repubblica Agnelli's preoccupations became increasingly erratic, "Mysticism, Franciscanism, drugs, Buddhism, lectures against Capital, praise of the poor, criticism of the behaviour of Fiat.[3]

As an adult Agnelli claimed to be the heir apparent to the Fiat empire, but his father, who had already been unhappy with Edoardo's timidity when he was a child, ensured that he would not inherit it.[4] The only official position which the younger Agnelli held in the family businesses was as a director of Juventus football club,[5] in which capacity he was present at the Heysel disaster.[6]

In 1990 Agnelli was charged in Kenya with possession of 7 ounces of heroin, to which he pleaded innocent.[7] The charges were later dropped.[8]


In November 2000, 46-year-old Agnelli's body was found, near Turin, on a river bed beneath a motorway viaduct, on which his car was found too.[1] The viaduct is known as the bridge of suicides.[9] The death was suspected by investigators to have been a suicide.[10]

A 2001 Iranian documentary film claimed that Agnelli was the victim of a Zionist plot to prevent a Muslim becoming head of Fiat, in spite of the fact that he was not an heir to Fiat.[11][4] Corriere della Sera wrote that, after Agnelli's death, "fundamentalists in Iran decided to construct the myth", and an Iranian television crew came to Italy to make a documentary the following year. In 2003, the documentary was circulated by FARS, a press agency linked to Iran's revolutionary guard. According to Corriere della Sera, the story is also enshrined at the Museum of Martyrs of Islam at Imam Sadiq University, Iran, which contains a portrait-shrine dedicated to Agnelli.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Johnston, Bruce (19 June 2001). "Fiat chief's son dies in viaduct plunge". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  2. ^ "The curse of inheritance: Do wealthy dynasties always make for happy heirs?". Belfast Telegraph. 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  3. ^ Aspesi, Natalia (16 November 2000). "Edoardo Agnelli, una vita fragile". La Repubblica (Rome). Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  4. ^ a b Farnham, Alan (10 September 1990). "THE CHILDREN OF THE RICH & FAMOUS". CNN. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  5. ^ "Fiat family's search for an heir.". Sunday Business. 26 November 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  6. ^ Darby, Paul; Johnes, Martin; Mello, Gavin (2005). Soccer and Disaster. Routledge. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7146-5352-5. 
  7. ^ "TYCOON'S SON PLEADS". Post-Gazette. 23 September 1990. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  8. ^ "Death of a family firm?". The Sunday Business Post. 3 December 2000. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  9. ^ August, Melissa; Bower, Amanda; Cooper, Matthew; Frank, Steven; Keliher, MacAbe; Minhua, Ling; Martens, Ellin; Orecklin, Michele; Rawe, Julie; Song, Sora; Tyrangiel, Josh (27 November 2000). "Milestones". Time. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  10. ^ http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2000/Fiat-Magnate-s-Son-Found-Dead/id-cfa9041889b6b6dffb810f8004f11609
  11. ^ a b "Edoardo Agnelli was a Shiite Martyr". Corriere della Sera. 11 November 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-01.