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Homeless man dies before inheriting fortune

15:01 Tue Jan 1 2013
MSN NZ
Copper heiress Huguette Clark in 1930. (AAP)
Copper heiress Huguette Clark in 1930. (AAP)

A US man set to inherit $18 million from the estate of his great aunt has died of hypothermia as he slept under a bridge.

The body of homeless man Timothy Henry Gray, 60, was found underneath a rail overpass in the small town of Evanston, Wyoming.

Mr Gray had worked as a cowboy for some time but stood to inherit millions from the estate of his adopted great-aunt, copper heiress Huguette Clark.

Ms Clark, who died in 2011 at the age of 104, left her $300 million fortune to her nurse, doctors and charity rather than to any of her relatives.

But several of her great-nieces and great-nephews whom she never met are now fighting for their perceived share of the fortune.

If the petition was successful, Mr Gray could have inherited $18 million, but his brother Gerry said he had several post traumatic stress symptoms from his childhood.

"It looks like he also may have lost the ability to manage the most basic finances — he had a large cheque undeposited," he said.

"It's universally and enormously sad."

Mr Gray was adopted into the family at the age of five, but had not had any contact with any other relatives for more than 20 years.