Addiction philanthropist, Eva Rausing, died Monday in London, raising suspicions of a possible drug overdose. She was 48 years old. At the time police found her lifeless body in her Chelsea home, her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, was arrested on suspicion of drug possession after caught driving erratically.
The couple met in a drug treatment center in the United States over twenty years ago. Both were patients at the facility, and both came from wealthy families. Ms. Rausing’s father was a Pepsi executive who owns an island in South Carolina and properties in Barbados and London. Mr. Rausing was listed as the 88th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes Magazine in March. His family made a fortune in Sweden in the 1950’s, creating innovative packaging to ship milk cheaply and safely.
The couple used their money and influence to aid charities devoted to addiction causes. Prince Charles once praised Mr. Rausing as a “very special kind of philanthropist.” However, in 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Rausing were arrested on drug charges. While attending a party at the U.S. embassy, guards found crack cocaine and heroin in Ms. Rausing’s purse. Later, when police searched the couples home, they found more illegal drugs. The charges against them were dropped as a result of an outpouring of support from the executives of charities they had donated their resources to.
After their arrest, the couple hid from the public eye and devoted less time to their charitable causes. They were struggling with their own addiction problems despite their efforts to help others recover.
Their lives spun out of control, resulting in lost custody of their four children to Mr. Rausing’s sister, and they isolated from friends and family, due to their addiction. “This has been an existing problem for a long time,” Liz Brewer, a friend of Ms. Rausing, told Sky News. “She was totally addicted, obviously, and was trying to get off it. I think the whole thing is a complete tragedy.” Police confirmed that Ms. Rausing’s body had been lying lifeless for days before anyone found her.
Ms. Rausing’s parents were devastated by the news of their daughter’s death. They chose to focus on her impact to fight addiction, rather than concentrate on the negative consequences of her own substance abuse. “In her short lifetime, she had a huge philanthropic impact, supporting a large number of charitable causes not only financially but using her own personal experiences,” her parents stated. “She bravely fought her health issues for many years.”
Police, family and friends await the toxicology reports that will determine if suspicions of a drug overdose are the exact cause of Ms. Rausing’s death.