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Billionaire James Crown dies in crash at Colorado racetrack

A prominent Chicago billionaire died in a car crash Sunday at a racetrack in Colorado, officials said.

James Crown, a businessman and socialite who was part of Chicago’s wealthy Crown family, suffered evident blunt force trauma after failing to navigate a turn and hitting an impact barrier at Aspen Motorsports Park in Woody Creek, the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office said in a news release. A final cause of death for Crown is still unknown pending an investigation by the coroner’s office.

Crown, who owned the Aspen Skiing Company, among other business ventures, was 70 years old at the time of his death. The fatal crash has been ruled an accident by the coroner in Pitkin County, where Crown lived part time in addition to Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson shared a statement with CBS Chicago in response to the news of Crown’s death, telling the station that he was “devastated” when he heard about the crash.

Paula Crown and James Crown attend MoMA’s Party in the Garden 2022 at The Museum of Modern Art on June 7, 2022, in New York City. / Credit: Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Museum of Modern Art

“A lifelong Chicagoan, Jim gave back to the city through philanthropy and leadership on a number of civic and academic boards as he was deeply committed to investing in Chicago and its people,” Johnson said in the statement.

“With his generosity, Jim truly embodied the soul of Chicago. I was especially grateful for his commitment to work collaboratively with my administration to build a safer Chicago, having met recently to share ideas. I send my deepest condolences to his wife, four children, grandchildren, and the entire Crown family and pray for their peace,” the mayor continued.

Crown was a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, a nonprofit community organization, according to CBS Chicago. He recently helped launch an initiative with the Civic Committee that aimed to raise tens of millions of dollars over the next several years to help reduce crime in Chicago by working with local organizations and leaders. Crown said earlier this month that the new initiative aims to improve safety throughout the city.

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