On 7 January 1943, Tesla, 86, died alone in Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel. His corpse was later found by maid Alice Monaghan after she had entered Tesla's room, ignoring the "do not disturb" sign that Tesla had had placed on his door two days prior to his death. Assistant medical examiner, H. W. Wembly, was called to the scene; after examining of the body, he ruled that the cause of death had been coronary thrombosis and that there had been no suspicious circumstances.
Despite having sold his AC electricity patents, Tesla died penniless and in debt.
Tesla's remains were taken to the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home at Madison Ave. and 81st St. A sculptor was commissioned by Hugo Gernsback, a long-time friend and supporter of Tesla, to create a death mask (now displayed in the Nikola Tesla Museum).
On 9 January, after learning of Tesla's death, the FBI ordered the Alien Property Custodian to seize all of Tesla's belongings, even though Tesla was an American citizen. Tesla's entire estate from the Hotel New Yorker and other New York City hotels, was transported to the Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Company under OAP seal.
Dr. John G. Trump, a professor at M.I.T. and well-known electrical engineer serving as a technical aide to the National Defense Research Committee, was called in to analyze the Tesla items in OAP custody to look for any material that could be sensitive in nature in relationship to the ongoing war at the time. After a three-day investigation, Trump concluded in his report that there was nothing that would constitute a hazard in unfriendly hands, stating:thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.
In a box purported to contain a part of Tesla's "death ray," Trump found a 45 year-old piece of basic electrical test equipment.
A few days after Tesla's death, the information center of the Yugoslav royal government-in-exile released a statement, giving a short review of Tesla's achievements and the schedule for his memorial service and funeral.
On 10 January 1943, New York City mayor, Fiorello La Guardia read a eulogy written by Croatian author, Louis Adamić, live over the WNYC radio. Violin pieces, "Ave Maria" and "Tamo Daleko," were played in the background.
On 12 January, Tesla was given a state funeral at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, in New York City. 2,000 people attended. The funeral service was opened by Episcopal Bishop William T. Manning and concluded by the venerable Reverend Dushan J. Shukletovich, rector of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava. After the funeral, Tesla's corpse was taken to the Ferncliff Cemetery in Ardsley, New York, where it was later cremated.
On 13 January, a second service was conducted in Serbian by prominent priests of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava in New York City.
In 1952, after constant pressure from Tesla's nephew, Sava Kosanović, arrangements were finally made; Tesla's entire estate (original papers, thousands of letters, photographs and most of Tesla's inventions including the remote-controlled boat, wireless fluorescent lamps, motors, turbines, etc.) was shipped to Belgrade. The estate was shipped in 80 trunks marked N.T.
In 1957, Ms. Charlotte Muzar, secretary and assistant to Tesla's nephew, the late Sava Kosanović, delivered Tesla's ashes from the United States to Belgrade. Tesla's ashes are currently kept in the third room of the Nikola Tesla Museum, in the gold-plated sphere on a marble pedestal.
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