Andrew Ali Aga Khan Embiricos was the 25-year-old grandson of Hollywood legend Rita Hayworth and the son of Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. He was found dead in his New York City apartment on December 4, 2011, with a plastic bag over his head. The initial reports suggested that he had committed suicide, but his friends and family disputed this claim, saying that he was happy and planning a trip to celebrate his birthday. So what really happened to Andrew Embiricos?
A Life of Struggle and Joy
Andrew Embiricos was born on February 1, 1986, to Princess Yasmin Aga Khan and Basil Embiricos, a Greek shipping heir. He was the great-grandson of Aga Khan III, the leader of the Ismaili Muslims, and the only child of his parents, who divorced when he was a toddler. He grew up in Manhattan and London, attending prestigious schools and enjoying a privileged lifestyle. He was also a descendant of Rita Hayworth, the glamorous actress who starred in films such as Gilda and The Lady from Shanghai. Hayworth suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died in 1987, when Andrew was only a year old.
Andrew Embiricos had a passion for aviation and history, and graduated from Fordham University with a degree in psychology. He worked as a travel consultant and founded a Facebook charity group that provided clothing and food to homeless people. He was also a generous donor to several causes, including Alzheimer’s research and AIDS prevention. He was openly gay and proud of his identity, and had a large circle of friends who loved him for his kindness, charm, and humor.
However, Andrew Embiricos also faced many challenges in his life. He was diagnosed with HIV at a young age, and struggled with drug addiction and depression. He had attempted suicide in the past, and had been in and out of rehab. He also had a penchant for risky sexual behavior, and had posted explicit videos of himself on a porn website. He was not ashamed of his sexuality, but he was sometimes reckless and self-destructive.
A Mysterious Death
On the evening of December 4, 2011, Andrew Embiricos was found dead in his bed by a close friend, who had gone to check on him after he had missed several appointments. He had a plastic bag over his head, and a towel wrapped around his neck. There was no note or evidence of foul play, and the police ruled his death as a suicide by asphyxiation. However, his mother, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, issued a statement calling his death “accidental” and “a terrible tragedy”. She did not elaborate on what she meant by accidental, but some of his friends speculated that he may have died from autoerotic asphyxiation, a practice of cutting off oxygen to enhance sexual pleasure. This theory was supported by the fact that he had a history of experimenting with sexuality, and that he seemed happy and optimistic in the days before his death.
One of the first people to suggest this possibility was Michael Musto, a columnist for The Village Voice, who wrote a blog post titled “Rita Hayworth’s Grandson Dead In Suicide: Or Was It?” He cited sources who said that Andrew Embiricos was in good spirits and was planning a trip to London for his birthday. He also mentioned his sexual adventures and his HIV status, and said that he was a “sexual rebel and a complete gent”. He concluded that he did not believe that he intentionally killed himself, and that it may have been a case of autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong.
Musto’s post sparked a lot of controversy and criticism, as some people accused him of being tasteless, insensitive, and disrespectful to the memory of Andrew Embiricos. They argued that he was exploiting his death for sensationalism, and that he was spreading rumors and speculation without any proof. They also said that he was violating his privacy and dignity, and that he was stigmatizing his sexuality and his HIV status. Musto defended his post, saying that he was trying to present a more positive and realistic picture of Andrew Embiricos, and that he was a public figure who had flaunted his sex life online. He also said that he was praising him for his generosity, charm, and complexity, and that he was not ashamed of his sexuality or his HIV status.
The debate over Musto’s post reflected the larger issues of how the media and the public deal with the deaths of gay celebrities, especially those who are HIV-positive or have a history of drug abuse or mental illness. Some people prefer to portray them as tragic victims of persecution, discrimination, or self-hatred, while others prefer to celebrate them as icons of courage, resilience, or liberation. Some people want to respect their privacy and dignity, while others want to expose their secrets and scandals. Some people want to honor their legacy, while others want to learn from their mistakes.
The Truth Revealed
The controversy over Andrew Embiricos’ death was finally settled in March 2012, when the coroner’s report was released. It confirmed that he had died from asphyxia due to suffocation with a plastic bag, and that the manner of death was accidental. It also revealed that he had traces of cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs in his system, but that they did not contribute to his death. The report also stated that he had no injuries or signs of struggle, and that he had been dead for several hours before he was discovered.
The coroner’s report validated Musto’s speculation, and proved that Andrew Embiricos did not commit suicide, but died from a sexual accident. It also showed that he was not depressed or suicidal, but was enjoying his life and looking forward to his future. It also suggested that he was not addicted or dependent on drugs, but was using them recreationally. It also indicated that he was not ashamed or afraid of his sexuality, but was exploring it freely and openly.
The truth behind Andrew Embiricos’ cause of death may not be what some people expected or wanted, but it is what it is. He was a young man who lived a full and adventurous life, who faced many challenges and overcame many obstacles, who loved and was loved by many people, who gave and received a lot of joy, who made some mistakes and learned some lessons, who had some secrets and some surprises, who was not perfect but was unique, who was not a saint but was a star. He was Andrew Ali Aga Khan Embiricos, and he is missed.