David Rockefeller
Business magnate David Rockefeller in September 1998Reuters

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist David Rockefeller has died, aged 101.

The banker died peacefully in his sleep in his home in Pocantico Hills, New York, on Monday morning according to his spokesman Fraser P Seitel.

Rockefeller was the sixth child of John D Rockefeller Jr and last surviving grandson of John D Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil who had become one of the richest men in the world by the time he died in 1937.

With the death of his five siblings, David Rockefeller headed a network of family organisations including business, arts and conservation projects.

He also headed Chase Manhattan Bank, transforming it into one of the world's largest financial institutions.

He reportedly turned down two offers from Richard Nixon to become US treasury secretary, and advised several US presidents. His top-level government contacts reportedly also smoothed the way for the Shah of Iran to gain entry to the US for medical treatment, after the ruler was deposed in the 1979 Iranian revolution.

A celebrated philanthropist, he donated millions of dollars to the Museum of Modern Art, his alma mater Harvard and the Council on Foreign Relations, where he served as chairman from 1970 to 1985.

To mark his 100th birthday in 2015, he gave 1,000 acres of land to Maine to be incorporated into a national park.

Forbes estimated his wealth at $3.3bn.