Part-time isle resident dies after Thai jailing
Royal intrigue: The sudden death of Prince Hohenlohe
Services were held today in Spain for a European prince and part-time Hawaii resident who died earlier this month after being held in a Bangkok jail for allegedly altering his expired visa to facilitate his return to Hawaii.
Jet setter Christoff "Kiko" Hohenlohe, 49, was heading back to Honolulu after a visit to Chiva-Som, a luxury spa in Thailand, to lose weight.
His Thai visa expired July 20, and Hohenlohe allegedly used a pen to change the date to July 29, the day he was to travel back to Hawaii, to avoid having to deal with immigration officials, friends said.
Immigration officials caught the alleged alteration and Hohenlohe was arrested on suspicion of forging documents, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.
Hohenlohe was in a weakened state after a significant weight loss, collapsed and was left on the jail cell floor for four hours before being taken to a hospital Aug. 5, where he possibly suffered a stroke, said Gaddo Cardini, who accompanied Hohenlohe's mother to Thailand, where she saw him the day before his collapse.
Cardini, in a phone interview from Spain, said Hohenlohe was kept alive on a ventilator until he was pronounced dead Aug. 8.
Hohenlohe, a Liechtenstein national, descends from royalty on both sides. His mother is Princess Ira von Furstenberg, former sister-in-law of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and daughter of a prince and a Fiat heiress. His father is Alfonso, prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Cardini said the Thai government apologized to his mother for what Cardini calls "such a stupid case" because it was a mistake. He said Hohenlohe's blood sugar was elevated and he had been given insulin. He also developed a lung infection and his kidneys were affected.
His mother wanted to bring his body to Switzerland for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, but it was not possible to bring his body out of the country without embalming him, Cardini said.
Cardini said he could have avoided the arrest had he paid a fine of $20 a day. Authorities held Hohenlohe without bail for five days before his collapse.
Friends and acquaintances in Hawaii were shocked and appalled by such a tragic end to a member of European royalty.
Hohenlohe was supposed to return Aug. 1 for a three-month stay in his Kahala apartment.
Margherita Parrent, president of Friends of Italy Society of Hawaii, said: "It's absolutely shocking to hear that he died and how he died. It's like a nightmare.
"To shave his head and throw him in a cell with 40 others, who knows what type of treatment he had," she said.
Hohenlohe, who has family in Italy, Spain and Germany, attended the society's functions, including its annual film festival.
Despite his royal bloodlines, Hohenlohe was "very low-key" about his heritage, Parrent said. "If you saw him walking around Honolulu, he didn't put on airs."
Hohenlohe had many friends in Honolulu, where he could go to the beach unrecognized. He had been coming to Hawaii for more than 10 years and usually came a few times a year, up to three months at a time, staying at a Kahala apartment, his friends said.
"He could have chosen to live anywhere, but he came to live here under the radar, away from the intense glare of publicity," Parrent said.
Lifelong friend Dialta Alliata Di Monte Reale characterized Hohenlohe as a man "who lived in a different world -- very courteous, very nice, without worries, kind of a character -- unique nowadays, childish if you wish, like a big boy.
"He was very young for his age, never worked," she said.
"It was a silly action that drove him to death," said Alliata, an Italian princess who lives in Makiki Heights and is Cardini's sister.
Alliata said Hohenlohe was a good public relations spokesman for Hawaii, and he had persuaded her to visit Hawaii, where she settled with her husband and five children.
"Hawaii was his second home, it was his base," she said.