Mr. Gurlitt, 81, became the subject of international attention last fall after media reports surfaced that roughly 1,400 works of art by major artists including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse had been confiscated by German authorities as part of a tax investigation.
For the past several weeks Mr. Gurlitt had been severely debilitated due to major heart surgery. After partially recovering in a Bavarian hospital under an assumed name, he requested “in the past few weeks” to return to his home where he died Tuesday morning in the presence of his doctor and caregivers, Mr. Holzinger said.
It is unclear what will happen to Mr. Gurlitt’s artworks, including an Henri Matisse portrait worth up to $20 million. Mr. Gurlitt was never married, had no children and it is uncertain whether he even left a will, Mr. Holzinger said.