News

TCI Founder's Heir Found Dead in Denver

4/06/2003 8:00 PM Eastern

Denver officials are awaiting the result of toxicology tests to determine the cause of death of Kim Magness, son of Bob Magness, the late founder of Tele-Communications Inc.

The body of Kim Magness, 50, was found March 29 in a Denver hotel room by the maid. Local police said items found in the room caused them to classify the death as suspicious, but they added that foul play was not suspected.

Magness has a history of liver and heart problems, as well as involvement in drugs. He was arrested March 7 in a Denver suburb during a drug-possession investigation.

That arrest apparently triggered his decision last month to resign from the board of Liberty Media Corp.

Magness and his brother, Gary, inherited the bulk of their father's fortune, including a substantial investment in Liberty.

Jack Levine, Magness's friend and attorney, said Magness intended to enter a drug rehabilitation program in Arizona. He was to sign in March 29, but his arrival was delayed until March 31.

Magness dined with friends March 29 at a local steak house, but complained of a stomachache, Levine said. He left to get some over-the-counter indigestion medication, but after taking it, "he still felt lousy," according to Levine.

Magness asked to be taken to the hotel, where he was living as his home was remodeled.

Friends and family believe Magness's health problems lead to his death, but his estranged wife, RaNae, has asked the medical examiner to seal the autopsy results when they are finalized. Colorado's open-documents law is applicable to autopsy information, though.

The widow also requested that the mortuary that handled last week's burial reject inquiries about the services. For instance, a worker there refused to confirm published reports about the April 4 service, citing a privacy request.

In addition to his widow and two children, Magness is survived by his brother and grandmother.