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Villa Leopolda, the couple’s home on the French Riviera, was a passion project for Lily, who threw herself into its renovation following the tragic deaths of her son and grandson in a car accident in 1989. Her other interest was philanthropy, donating great sums of money to the rejuvenation of buildings like Somerset House, and famously donating £600,000 to the families of the victims of 9/11. 

Tragedy struck again in 1999. Safra, who was by then receiving round-the-clock care due to Parkinson’s Disease, and who was also increasingly paranoid after rumours spread about the potentially nefarious origins of his wealth, had locked himself in the panic room at the couple’s Monaco property when a fire broke out. Despite his wife telling him that there were no intruders, he refused to budge, and he and his nurse were killed by the fumes. The case attracted widespread media interest, with another of Safra’s nurses, Ted Maher, ultimately being found guilty of starting the blaze intentionally. It was suggested that he had intended to stage a daring rescue, but had been overcome by the flames. 

In subsequent years, Lily spent the majority of her time in Geneva, where she died from cancer aged 87 earlier this month. She is survived by three of her children, and her grandchildren, who all keep a low profile.