Gianni VersaceGianni Versace ( December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997) was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A., an international fashion house, which produces accessories, fragrances, makeup and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films, and was a friend of Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting, and Diana, Princess of Wales among many others.
Versace was shot dead on July 15, 1997, aged 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. Usually, Versace would have an assistant from his home walk to the coffee shop to receive his morning papers, but on this morning he was in high spirits and took the chore upon himself. He was murdered by Andrew Cunanan, who used the same gun to commit suicide on a boat a few days later. Police have said they do not know why Versace was killed. "I don't know that we are ever going to know the answers," said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto. Versace's body was cremated and his ashes returned to the family's estate near Cernobbio, Italy.
In September 1997, it was announced Versace's brother, Santo, and Jorge Saud would serve as the new CEOs of Gianni Versace S.P.A. Versace's sister, Donatella, became the new head of design.
In his will, Gianni Versace left 50 percent of his fashion empire to his niece Allegra Versace. Her younger brother, Daniel, inherited Versace's rare artwork collection. Allegra inherited her stake, worth around half a billion dollars, when she turned 18 in 2004.