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Newspaper executive dies after falling at Chicago hotel

  • Eric Paul Janssen, 44, died after falling several stories from the 20th floor at the London House in Chicago Tuesday afternoon
  • Janssen was vice president of the Sandusky Newspaper Group in Memphis
  • The father-of-three was in Chicago for an architectural tour that promised 'behind-the-scenes access' to hundreds of buildings
  • At time of his death, he was taking photos on the ledge of the hotel, friends say 

By Regina F. Graham For Dailymail.com

Published: 20:26 EDT, 17 October 2017 | Updated: 23:28 EDT, 17 October 2017

A newspaper executive and fan of exploring tragically fell several stories to his death while he was trespassing at a luxury hotel in Chicago on Monday.

Eric Paul Janssen, who was a vice president for the Sandusky Newspaper Group in Memphis, plummeted to the street while taking photos at the trendy London House Hotel.

The 44-year-old man, who was a fan of urban exploring, was taking photographs without permission when he fell from a 20th floor parapet wall and struck a sixth-floor rooftop below around 3.30pm,CBS Chicago reported. 

Janssen, who was visiting for an architectural tour that promised 'behind-the-scenes access' to hundreds of buildings, was taking photos on the ledge of the hotel, which is located on 85 E. Wacker Drive near Michigan Avenue, according to his family and friends.

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Eric Paul Janssen, a Memphis newspaper executive, tragically fell several stories to his death in an apparent accident Monday afternoon in downtown Chicago
Eric Paul Janssen, a Memphis newspaper executive, tragically fell several stories to his death in an apparent accident Monday afternoon in downtown Chicago

Eric Paul Janssen, a Memphis newspaper executive, tragically fell several stories to his death in an apparent accident Monday afternoon in downtown Chicago

Janssen was reportedly trespassing at the trendy London House Hotel (above) in Chicago during the time of the incident
Janssen was reportedly trespassing at the trendy London House Hotel (above) in Chicago during the time of the incident

Janssen was reportedly trespassing at the trendy London House Hotel (above) in Chicago during the time of the incident

The 44-year-old man was taking photographs without permission when he fell from a 20th floor parapet wall (scene above)
The 44-year-old man was taking photographs without permission when he fell from a 20th floor parapet wall (scene above)

The 44-year-old man was taking photographs without permission when he fell from a 20th floor parapet wall (scene above)

He struck a sixth-floor rooftop below around 3.30pm (scene above) at the luxury hotel
He struck a sixth-floor rooftop below around 3.30pm (scene above) at the luxury hotel

He struck a sixth-floor rooftop below around 3.30pm (scene above) at the luxury hotel

A friend who was with Janssen at the time of the accident said he was not staying at the hotel, but had just been at the top floor lounge when he stepped away briefly to take some photos, the Chicago Tribune reported.   

The medical examiner said Janssen suffered numerous injuries and ruled his death an accident. 

His sister, Cynthia Vukmer, told the Tribune: 'He died doing what he loved. He did that, I do believe he did that.'

She said the father of three was dedicated to his family and friends along with his job. 

'He was very passionate about life and his friends and family,' Vukmer said. 

'He was passionate about photography ... He was just a wonderful, wonderful guy. 

'He was very, very, very deeply loved by his family and by so many. He was my hero.' 

A friend said that Janssen was taking photos on the ledge of the hotel, which is located on 85 E. Wacker Drive near Michigan Avenue (scene above). He was not staying at the hotel at the time of the accident
A friend said that Janssen was taking photos on the ledge of the hotel, which is located on 85 E. Wacker Drive near Michigan Avenue (scene above). He was not staying at the hotel at the time of the accident

A friend said that Janssen was taking photos on the ledge of the hotel, which is located on 85 E. Wacker Drive near Michigan Avenue (scene above). He was not staying at the hotel at the time of the accident

His sister, Cynthia Vukmer, told the Tribune: 'He died doing what he loved. He did that, I do believe he did that.' She said the father of three was dedicated to his family and friends along with his job
His sister, Cynthia Vukmer, told the Tribune: 'He died doing what he loved. He did that, I do believe he did that.' She said the father of three was dedicated to his family and friends along with his job

His sister, Cynthia Vukmer, told the Tribune: 'He died doing what he loved. He did that, I do believe he did that.' She said the father of three was dedicated to his family and friends along with his job

Vukmer, who called her brother a 'gentle giant', said that they had their final conversation last week when he apologized for not purchasing her a birthday present. 

She shared that he did buy her son the Battleship board game, which they played together as children while growing up in suburban Memphis. 

Janssen graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Memphis after being inspired by his mother who is a writer.  

His sister said that he had been living in the South Main Historic District in Memphis, but traveled a lot for work. 

One of his former classmates at the University of Memphis, Aimee Edmondson, told the Tribune that Janssen's motto in life was 'live a great story'. 

Janssen worked as a vice president for the Sandusky Newspaper Group in Memphis. Janssen graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Memphis
Janssen worked as a vice president for the Sandusky Newspaper Group in Memphis. Janssen graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Memphis

Janssen worked as a vice president for the Sandusky Newspaper Group in Memphis. Janssen graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Memphis

'He often photographed from rooftops and had a particular interest in the beauty that comes with urban decay,' Edmondson said. 

Edmondson added that following Janssen on social media, 'you will understand what he was doing on the roof – taking beautiful photos, no doubt.'

For his last Instagram post shared Monday, Janssen shared a striking photo inside of Barr Funeral Home.

He captioned it, 'Birth. School. Work. Death.' 

Janssen also wrote: 'Chicago has been an amazing experience. Made some new friends. Reconnected with some old friends. Had a really wonderful time exploring this great city.'

For his last Instagram post (above) shared Monday, Janssen shared a striking photo inside of Barr Funeral Home. He captioned it, 'Birth. School. Work. Death.'
For his last Instagram post (above) shared Monday, Janssen shared a striking photo inside of Barr Funeral Home. He captioned it, 'Birth. School. Work. Death.'

For his last Instagram post (above) shared Monday, Janssen shared a striking photo inside of Barr Funeral Home. He captioned it, 'Birth. School. Work. Death.'


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