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Wal-Mart heir John Walton dies in plane crash

June 28, 2005 12:32 IST
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Wal-Mart's heir John Walton died on Monday as the plane he was flying crashed near Jackson Hole Airport in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Son of Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, the 58-year old John Walton was an experienced pilot.

Though the cause of the accident was not known, Walton died on the spot. He was flying an experimental ultra light aircraft with a small, gasoline-powered engine.

He is survived by his wife and son, mother; two brothers, a sister and their families. His brother S Robson Walton is chairman of Wal-Mart's board. 

According to Wal-Mart's regulatory filings, he and the rest of the Walton family owned about 40 per cent of Wal-Mart shares.

In March, Forbes Magazine listed John Walton as No 11 on its list of the world's richest people with a net worth of $18.2 billion.

The Waltons, USA's richest family, are known to be top philanthropists contributing substantially to education reforms.

Walton, who served in the US Army Green Berets as a medic during the Vietnam War, had been a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors since 1992. He was awarded a Silver Star for helping save the lives of several members of his unit while under intense enemy fire, according to Wal-Mart.

Walton pursued a variety of business interests, including crop dusting in the 1970s and boat building in the 1980s and 1990s.

Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer with over 4,000 stores around the globe.

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