Merckle, 74, one of the world's richest men and the head of a drugs and engineering conglomerate, was found dead on the railway line not far from his home in the small village of Blauberen near Ulm in southwestern Germany on Monday night, Jan 5 The Telegraph reports.
German police confirmed that a suicide note had been found and said 'no third party is being sought in conjunction with his death'.
Merckle controlled the pharmaceutical group Ratiopharm, cement company Heidelberg Cement and one of Europe's biggest wholesale drug distributors, Phoenix. He also had an investment firm. His family blamed the economic downturn for his death. "The economic state of distress of his companies caused by the financial crisis and the associated uncertainties of the last weeks, as well as the powerlessness not to be able to act anymore broke this passionate family entrepreneur, and he terminated his life," a statement read.
Merckle was one of the richest men in the world last year with a fortune pegged by Forbes at over six billion pounds. The crash and his poor choice of betting on the German DAX in 2006 are thought to have dramatically cut that fortune.&13;