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Mary Max, 52-year-old wife of famed pop artist Peter Max, is found dead of an apparent suicide

Mary Max, the wife of celebrated artist Peter Max, killed herself in her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side over the weekend, according to police.

Ms Max, 52, was found dead in the couple’s 15th floor apartment on Riverside Drive near West 84th Street on Sunday evening.

Her death comes amid a bitter legal battle with her step-son Adam Max, 49, about her 81-year-old husband’s artwork. 

Mary Max (right), the wife of famed pop artist Peter Max (left), has died of suicide

Mary Max (right), the wife of famed pop artist Peter Max (left), has died of suicide

Mary (second right) and Peter (third right) with Britain's Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (second left) and music mogul Quincy Jones (left) at  the Duke of Edinburgh Award Luncheon in New York in 2009. Also pictured, sex therapist Dr Ruth Westheimer (front) and event host David Hryck

Mary (second right) and Peter (third right) with Britain’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (second left) and music mogul Quincy Jones (left) at  the Duke of Edinburgh Award Luncheon in New York in 2009. Also pictured, sex therapist Dr Ruth Westheimer (front) and event host David Hryck

Her official cause of death was nitrogen asphyxiation, according to the New York Post

Peter, her husband of more than 20 years,  suffers from an advanced form of dementia.

In 2015, Mary was sued by her stepson Adam and since an ongoing feud has raged between the pair.

Adam accused Mary of attempting to kill her husband so that she could take control of his multi-million dollar art collection.

Mary Max, 52, (right) was found dead in her apartment on Riverside Drive near West 84th Street on Sunday evening among a bitter legal battle with her step-son Adam Max, 49, about her 81-year-old husband's (left) artwork

Mary Max, 52, (right) was found dead in her apartment on Riverside Drive near West 84th Street on Sunday evening among a bitter legal battle with her step-son Adam Max, 49, about her 81-year-old husband’s (left) artwork

She was found dead in her New York City apartment on Sunday, according to police

She was found dead in her New York City apartment on Sunday, according to police

Peter has painted many icons and world leaders, in 2002, he presented a portrait to President Bill Clinton in New York

Peter has painted many icons and world leaders, in 2002, he presented a portrait to President Bill Clinton in New York 

Peter (second right) and Mary (right) with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and his wife Theresa (left), as Peter unveiled portraits of him in 1997

Peter (second right) and Mary (right) with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and his wife Theresa (left), as Peter unveiled portraits of him in 1997

Berlin-born Peter(left)  rose to fame in the 1960s, when he became known for his psychedelic art and pop art. He married Mary Baldwin (right)  in 1997. Pictured together at the Humane Society of the United States to the Rescue Gala in 2013

Berlin-born Peter(left)  rose to fame in the 1960s, when he became known for his psychedelic art and pop art. He married Mary Baldwin (right)  in 1997. Pictured together at the Humane Society of the United States to the Rescue Gala in 2013

In 2015, Mary asked a court to appoint a guardian to oversee her husband's business after Adam and three business associates took over the studio increasing production and profit through a series of art auctions on cruise ships

In 2015, Mary asked a court to appoint a guardian to oversee her husband’s business after Adam and three business associates took over the studio increasing production and profit through a series of art auctions on cruise ships

Peter Max pictured in his New York studio in 2012. He unveiled a series of portraits of Paul McCartney for his birthday

Peter Max pictured in his New York studio in 2012. He unveiled a series of portraits of Paul McCartney for his birthday

Mary accused Adam of stealing $4.3million worth of artwork that her husband gave her in a prenuptial agreement. 

Peter’s mental state has deteriorated significantly in recent years as the legal battles between his family have continued in court.    

In 1963, he married Elizabeth Nance, and the pair had two children, Adam Cosmo and Libra Astro before they divorced in 1976.

He went on to have a string of high profile relationships, before meeting Mary Balkin on a Manhattan sidewalk in 1996.   

Mary, a blonde with a pixie cut, caught Peter’s eye. He approached her and introduced himself saying ‘I’ve been painting your profile my entire life.’

Peter pictured at home in New York in 1967, before he met Mary

Peter pictured at home in New York in 1967, before he met Mary

In a transcript of a recorded interview seen in court, Mary discusses with her driver about hiring a goon to intimidate her husband and to damage his paining hand

In a transcript of a recorded interview seen in court, Mary discusses with her driver about hiring a goon to intimidate her husband and to damage his paining hand

A year later they married. It was officiated by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. 

Twenty years on, Peter has a severe form of dementia, which has been at the center of the feud between his late wife and son.

In 2015, Mary asked a court to appoint a guardian to oversee her husband’s business after Adam and three business associates took over the studio increasing production and profit through a series of art auctions on cruise ships.  

At the time Peter was too ill to paint, and was just signing his name to other artists work, according to the New York Times.  

After Mary’s request was granted, Adam removed his father from his home and moved him around New York for more than a month.  

In a series of damning accusations, Mary accused Adam of concealing the whereabouts of Peter and effectively ‘kidnapping’ him.   

Peter famously painted world leaders, including Barack Obama (pictured), and even presented art to Bill Clinton

Peter famously painted world leaders, including Barack Obama (pictured), and even presented art to Bill Clinton

Adam retorted that he was protecting the artist from Mary’s verbal and physical abuse, describing her as neglectful, a view that was later supported by the guardian Mary appointed herself. 

Members of household staff also accused Mary of neglecting her husband, saying she withheld food and even put ‘large Brazil nuts’ in his smoothies, which acted as a choking hazard.

In a transcript of a recorded interview seen in court, Mary discusses with her driver about hiring a goon to intimidate her husband and to damage his painting hand. 

However, one court-appointed lawyer claimed that Peter stated his love for his wife several times, and that removing him from his home could be detrimental to his well-being.    

A judge ordered Peter to be returned to his wife’s care at their Riverside Drive home. 

Who is Peter Max? The 1960s counter-cultural icon whose legacy has sparked a bitter feud in between his family 

Berlin-born Peter rose to fame in the 1960s, when he became known for his psychedelic art and pop art.

The son of German Jews, born on October 19, 1937, he fled Berlin as a baby and grew up in Shanghai  for the first decade of his life, before moving to and Israel and eventually settling in Brooklyn. 

In the 1960s, he set up an art studio in Manhattan with his friend Tom Daly, soon he was well- known for his counter-culture pieces as he cemented himself at the heart of the Pop Art movement. 

In 1963, Peter (pictured in 1967) married Elizabeth Nance, and the pair had two children, Adam Cosmo and Libra Astro. The pair divorce in 1976. He went on to have a string of high profile relationships, before meeting Mary Balkin on a Manhattan sidewalk in 1996

In 1963, Peter (pictured in 1967) married Elizabeth Nance, and the pair had two children, Adam Cosmo and Libra Astro. The pair divorce in 1976. He went on to have a string of high profile relationships, before meeting Mary Balkin on a Manhattan sidewalk in 1996

He later was commissioned by the US Postal Service to create a stamp, and amassed his fortune through becoming the official artist for dozens of major events including the World Series,  the 1994 World Cup, the Super Bowl, the Grammy Awards, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He has also been the official artist for the US Winter Olympics team and his work is very popular on cruise ship auctions. In 2015, he painted a cruise ship, part of Norwegian’s fleet.  

Peter's work is very popular on cruise ship auctions. In 2015, he painted a cruise ship, part of Norwegian's fleet, the Norweigan Breakaway (pictured leaving Southampton, England)

Peter’s work is very popular on cruise ship auctions. In 2015, he painted a cruise ship, part of Norwegian’s fleet, the Norweigan Breakaway (pictured leaving Southampton, England)

A 1960s icon, the artist was also friends with the Beatles and inspired the famous Yellow Submarine album artwork.  

In 1963, he married Elizabeth Nance, and the pair had two children, Adam Cosmo and Libra Astro before they divorced in 1976.

He went on to have a string of high profile relationships, before meeting Mary Balkin on a Manhattan sidewalk in 1996.   

Mary, a blonde with a pixie cut, caught Peter’s eye. He approached her and introduced himself saying ‘I’ve been painting your profile my entire life.’

A year later they married. It was officiated by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. 

His twilight years became the subject of a bitter feud between his family, namely his wife Mary and son Adam.

The pair fought over the care of Peter, who is suffering from a severe  form of dementia, and his pricey art collection.

For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255 

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