Damian Hurley has thanked fans for their 'overwhelming kindness' following his father Steve Bing's suicide.The student, 18, took to Instagram on Sa
Damian Hurley has thanked fans for their ‘overwhelming kindness’ following his father Steve Bing’s suicide.
The student, 18, took to Instagram on Saturday, where he posted a photograph of himself posing in front of a flower backdrop, and shared a gratitude-filled caption alongside.
The message read: ‘I’d like to thank you all again for your overwhelming kindness over the past few days. Your love and support has helped me greatly during this challenging time.’
Thankful: Damian Hurley, 18, has thanked fans for their ‘overwhelming kindness’ following his father Steve Bing’s suicide
Heartfelt: The student took to Instagram on Saturday, where he posted a photograph of himself posing in front of a flower backdrop, and shared a gratitude-filled caption alongside
Damian first broke his silence on Tuesday, after his father Steve Bing jumped to his death at the age of 55.
He said he was experiencing a ‘strange and confusing time’ as he took to Instagram hours after the ‘devastating news’ emerged that the millionaire filmmaker and philanthropist had killed himself.
Alongside a photograph of a beautiful sunset, Damian thanked his followers for their kindness and well-wishes, writing: ‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has reached out following the devastating news.
‘I’m trying to reply to as many of you as I can, but please know I will always remember your kindness. This is a very strange and confusing time and I’m immensely grateful to be surrounded by my phenomenal family and friends.’
‘This is a strange and confusing time’: Damian Hurley, 18, first broke his silence on Instagram on Tuesday following the ‘devastating news’ of his father Steve Bing’s suicide
The filmmaker and philanthropist jumped to his death from the 27th floor of his luxury apartment building in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles after becoming depressed due to a lack of social contact during lockdown.
Damian was born after an 18-month relationship between the entrepreneur and actress Elizabeth Hurley, 55, in the early 2000s, before the pair split amid a bitter paternity row.
While it had been reported that Bing had never met his son, Damian’s mother Elizabeth also took to social media to say they had grown close in recent times and had spoken on his 18th birthday.
Alongside a gallery of images from their time together, Elizabeth wrote on Instagram on Tuesday: ‘I am saddened beyond belief that my ex Steve is no longer with us.
Family: Damian pictured with his mother, Elizabeth, who dated Steve in the early 2000s for around 18 months but it was not an exclusive romance
Love: Elizabeth shared Instagram snaps from romantic holidays with Steve on Tuesday, a day after his suicide and admitted they had ‘become close again’
‘I am saddened beyond belief’: She wrote these touching words along the pictures
‘It is a terrible end. Our time together was very happy and I’m posting these pictures because although we went through some tough times, it’s the good, wonderful memories of a sweet, kind man that matter.
‘In the past year we had become close again. We last spoke on our son’s 18th birthday. This is devastating news and I thank everyone for their lovely messages.’
The real estate heir – thought to be worth $590million at the time of his death – took his own life at 1pm local time on Monday, having become depressed amid a lack of human contact during lockdown, sources told TMZ.
On Monday evening, Damian shared a picture of a beautiful blue sky taken through the trees on Instagram Stories.
Happy times: In the throwback photos, taken during their two-year romance, Elizabeth and Steve appeared loved up and went on many adventures together
Memories: Elizabeth shared a snap from a trip on a private jet together
It is not clear whether he was aware of the news when he shared the image from his mother Elizabeth’s Herefordshire countryside home at approximately 4pm UK time.
A one-time Vegas high-roller and strip-club aficionado who was ‘dedicated in equal parts to philanthropy, politics and women’, Bing used his wealth to immerse himself in the glamour of Hollywood, producing films such as Get Carter, starring Sylvester Stallone, and Polar Express, with Tom Hanks.
He was also known for his scandalous private life, including fathering son Damian by Elizabeth and daughter Kira Kerkorian by tennis player Lisa Bonder.
Both children had to undergo paternity tests to prove he was their father – with Bonder’s ex-husband, MGM billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, even hiring a private detective to acquire a sample of Bing’s DNA as evidence.
Smiling: In many of the snaps, the former couple had their arms around one another
Looking back: Despite their tough times, Elizabeth called Steve a ‘sweet, kind man’
Bing and Hurley were also involved in a bitter paternity fight, with a court-ordered DNA test eventually proving he was the father.
He is not thought to have been close with either child, though supported them financially – paying £100,000-a-year into a trust fund for him to access when he turned 18.
During a subsequent inheritance fight with father Peter in which he tried to cut both children out of his will, it was claimed that Steve had never even met Damian. He and Hurley hit back, and ultimately won the case.
Elizabeth met Bing in 2000, while she was ending her 13-year relationship with Hugh Grant.
The couple, whose relationship remained non-exclusive, separated briefly in March 2001.
Travelling: She also shared a snap of them posing together at a ski resort
They reportedly reconnected soon after, and in August visited Elton John’s holiday home in Nice.
Elizabeth informed Bing after they separated that he was the father of her child.
He issued a news release saying that they had not been in an exclusive relationship and that it was ‘her choice to be a single mother.’
Tabloids in Britain variously labelled him ‘Bing Laden’ and a ‘spermicidal maniac.’
In the same year that Damian was born, 2001, Bing was faced with a paternity suit from a second woman, professional tennis player Lisa Bonder.
Bonder, who in 1984 was ranked 9th in the world in singles, was involved in a high-profile child support lawsuit with her ex-husband of 28 days, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.
Poignant: Damian had shared a picture of a beautiful blue sky taken through the trees on Instagram Stories on Monday evening, but it’s not known if he knew of the sad news then
Kerkorian, 48 years older than Bonder, suspected that Bing – Bonder’s ex boyfriend – was the father of her daughter.
Kerkorian hired infamous private eye Anthony Pellicano to investigate, and Pellicano used dental floss from Bing’s rubbish to do a DNA test confirming he was indeed the father.
Pellicano also wiretapped Bonder’s phone calls.
Pellicano subsequently was convicted on various charges, including wiretapping, received a 15-year prison sentence.
Dr Peter Bing, Damian’s grandfather, attempted in 2018 to cut his ‘born out of wedlock’ grandson from a sizeable inheritance from his will.
Past love: Elizabeth Hurley pictured with Steve in Los Angeles in 2001
Peter, who donated $50 million to Stanford University in 2006, established his trust in 1980 to ‘benefit [his] future grandchildren’, who were born or adopted at a young age by Steve or his daughter Mary, according to court papers.
The trust states children who were born out of wedlock and who didn’t live in their parent’s home for a significant amount of time as a minor, would not be considered as beneficiaries.
The elder Bing also stated that Damian would not be considered as a beneficiary either because he was born out of wedlock and not only never lived with his film producer father but ‘never met’ him.
Steve contested this and in July 2019, he won his legal fight and an LA judge ruled that Damian and his half-sister Kira Kerkorian were indeed beneficiaries to the trust.
Former relationship: Bing and Hurley pictured at the polo in the Hamptons in 2001, during their on-off romance
Steve had earlier accused his father Peter of ‘coordinating’ with his sister Mary, 53, to ‘orchestrate a massive money-grab to deprive’ Kira and Damian of their rightful inheritance and ‘thereby increasing – perhaps even doubling – her own children’s share of the available fund,’ court papers stated.
The businessman had even wanted Mary punished for allegedly trying to screw his children out of the trust, asking a judge to ‘penalise’ Mary for allegedly violating a stipulation of the trust in her attempts to secure more money for her two children, Lucy and Anton, aged 19 and 16, whom she shares with her ex husband Doug Ellis.
If had been enforced, the penalty would have cost her children their entire inheritance.
Meanwhile, former president Bill Clinton, a friend of Bing, led tributes to him, saying: ‘I loved Steve Bing very much.
Throwback: Bing and Hurley at Elton John’s 2001 post-Oscar party in Los Angeles
‘He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he’s finally found peace.’
Bing was a well-known donor to liberal causes, having signed up to the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett ‘Giving Pledge’ to give away the majority of his wealth in his lifetime.
He is thought to have donated money to Clinton, and was reportedly instrumental in helping him get two reporters sent back to the US from North Korea in 2009.
Bing’s fortune came from his grandfather Leo, who built luxury apartment houses in New York in the 1920s.
His father worked on public health issues for the Johnson White House before relocating to Los Angeles, where he attends to the family business.
The family has appeared on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans.
Sad news: Police outside the building where Steve lived. He is believed to have jumped to his death
His home: The Century City building where Bing lived
California is dotted with evidence of the family’s generosity, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Leo S. Bing Theater to an array of programs at Stanford University, where Peter Bing used to be chairman of the board of trustees.
Despite his huge inheritance, Bing was not well known to the general public until his relationship with Hurley.
Before he finished high school at the Harvard-Westlake School, Bing had already co-written his first screenplay, Missing in Action, with veteran sitcom writer Arthur Silver.
It was made into a Chuck Norris film and spawned a sequel.
He inherited his fortune on his 18th birthday, and dropped out of Stanford in his junior year to pursue filmmaking.
In the early 1990s he reportedly checked into the Hotel Bel-Air for one night, and then stayed there for nine years.
Bing maintained a low profile, but was forced into the spotlight by his 2000-2001 relationship with Hurley and a subsequent paternity suit, which enrapt the tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic and led him to file numerous libel and invasion of privacy suits.
In 2002 the Los Angeles Times wrote that ‘the press-shy 37-year-old scion is fast acquiring a Gatsby-esque allure and notoriety.’
The paper reported: ‘Now unmistakably on the map as a high-profile Hollywood libertine, he is a man dedicated apparently in equal measures to philanthropy, politics and women.’
Friends of Bing said that the 6’4′ producer was famed for his easy-going sense of fun and his intellect.
He drove around town in a 1997 Lincoln, wearing jeans and scruffy T-shirts or Hawaiian shirts, and giving no hint of his wealth.
‘He’s a fan of strip clubs, has been a high roller in Las Vegas for years, and yet he can discuss the dense Robert Caro biography of Lyndon Johnson,’ the paper claimed.
He was said to count Warren Beatty, James Caan, Hugh Hefner and Mick Jagger among his friends.
Bing was best known professionally for writing the 2003 film Kangaroo Jack.
As an investor, Bing was integral in bringing Tom Hanks’ Polar Express to life, contributing $100 million to the computer animated feature.
He also produced the Rolling Stones film directed by Martin Scorcese, Shine A Light.
In April 2012, Bing joined the Giving Pledge – a program established by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to commit multi-millionaires and billionaires to donate most of their wealth to charity during their lifetimes.
Bing has also been romantically connected to Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Naomi Campbell.
His philanthropy was less well known, but impressive. In 2002 Bing was the largest donor to the Natural Resources Defense Council, contributing $10 million.
He had contributed $3.5 million to support and defend the 1998 initiative that imposed a 50-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund child-care and anti-tobacco programs for preschoolers, and was generous to Democratic candidates.
On the night of the 2000 general election, Bing immediately committed $200,000 to the recount effort.
He also pledged $25 million to Stanford University.
- For confidential support call National Suicide Prevention Line, 1-800-273-8255
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
- In Australia, call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on: 13 11 14
Father: Bing’s daughter is Kira Kerkorian (left) – who was born following his affair with tennis player Lisa Bonder (right), who at the time was married to billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. He hired a private detective to prove Lisa was not his child