Alexander Onassis Cause of Death: How a Plane Crash Ended a Promising Life



Alexander Onassis was the son of the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis and his first wife Tina Livanos. He was a young and wealthy businessman who was the president of Olympic Aviation, a regional airline owned by his father. He was also a passionate pilot who loved flying his own planes. But his life was cut short by a tragic plane crash that killed him and his co-pilot at the age of 24. What caused the fatal accident, and how did it affect his family and legacy?

## The Life and Career of Alexander Onassis

Alexander Onassis was born on April 30, 1948, in New York City. He was the elder child of Aristotle Onassis and Tina Livanos, both of whom came from prominent Greek shipping families. Alexander had a younger sister, Christina, who was born in 1950. Alexander was named after his father's uncle, who was hanged by the Turkish army during the Smyrna massacre in 1922. [^1^][1]

Alexander grew up in a luxurious and jet-setting lifestyle, traveling around the world with his parents and meeting celebrities and politicians. He attended various schools in France, Switzerland, and England, but he was not a good student and failed his exams at age 16. He then joined his father's business empire and worked at his headquarters in Monaco. He earned a salary of $12,000 a year, despite his father's immense wealth. [^2^][2]

Alexander was not interested in the shipping industry, but he had a passion for aviation. He learned to fly at age 17 and obtained his pilot's license. He also collected several planes, including a Learjet, a Piper, and a Cessna. He became the president of Olympic Aviation, a subsidiary of Olympic Airways, the national carrier of Greece. He was responsible for expanding the airline's fleet and routes, and improving its safety and service standards. He was also involved in humanitarian missions, such as delivering food and medicine to Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. [^3^][3]

Alexander had a turbulent personal life, marked by several romantic relationships and conflicts with his father. He dated Odile Rodin, a French model and the widow of Porfirio Rubirosa, a Dominican diplomat and playboy. He also had a secret affair with Fiona Thyssen, a British model and the ex-wife of Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, a German industrialist and art collector. He was engaged to her at the time of his death, but his father disapproved of their relationship and tried to stop it. [^4^][4]

Alexander was also upset by his father's marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of John F. Kennedy, the former president of the United States. He felt that his father had betrayed his mother, who had divorced him in 1960 after discovering his affair with Maria Callas, the famous opera singer. He also resented his stepmother, who he thought was a gold-digger and a snob. He tried to reconcile his father and his mother, who had remarried to Stavros Niarchos, another Greek shipping magnate and a rival of his father. [^5^][5]

## The Accident that Killed Alexander Onassis

On January 23, 1973, Alexander Onassis was flying his Piaggio P.136-L2 amphibious plane from Athens to Istanbul, where he was supposed to meet his father and his fiancée. He was accompanied by Donald McCusker, an American pilot who worked for him. They took off from the Hellinikon International Airport at 1:15 p.m., but soon after, they encountered a problem with the landing gear. They decided to return to the airport and make an emergency landing. 

As they approached the runway, they realized that they had another problem: the flaps of the plane were not working properly. They tried to adjust the speed and the altitude, but they lost control of the plane and crashed into the ground. The plane burst into flames and was completely destroyed. Alexander and McCusker were pulled out of the wreckage by the rescue workers and taken to the hospital. McCusker died on the way, while Alexander died a few hours later. He had suffered severe burns, a fractured skull, and a brain hemorrhage. He was 24 years old. 

The news of the crash shocked and saddened the world, especially the Greek community and the aviation industry. Thousands of people attended his funeral, which was held on his father's private island of Skorpios. He was buried in a marble sarcophagus next to a small chapel, where his father would later join him. His father was devastated by his death and never recovered from it. He said that Alexander was "the only person who ever loved me". He also blamed himself for the accident, saying that he had pushed Alexander too hard and had not given him enough love and attention. 

## The Legacy of Alexander Onassis

Alexander Onassis's death was a tragedy that robbed the world of a promising and generous young man. But his legacy lives on through his family and his foundation. His sister, Christina, inherited most of his fortune and became the president of the Onassis Group. She also created the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, a charitable organization that supports education, culture, health, and social welfare in Greece and abroad. The foundation awards scholarships, grants, and prizes to students, researchers, and artists, and sponsors various cultural and scientific events and projects. 

Alexander's niece, Athina Onassis, is the sole surviving descendant of Aristotle Onassis. She is also the heiress of his fortune and the owner of Skorpios island. She is a competitive equestrian and a philanthropist, who supports animal welfare and environmental causes. She is married to Alvaro de Miranda Neto, a Brazilian show jumper and Olympic medalist. 

Alexander Onassis's cause of death was a tragic accident that ended a promising life. But his life and legacy were an inspiration to many people, who admired his passion, his generosity, and his courage. He was a son, a brother, a fiancé, and a friend, who loved flying and helping others. He was Alexander Onassis, and he will always be remembered.