Robert W. Wilson, 87, a retired New York hedge-fund founder who committed his life to giving the fortune he made from investing to charities, died Monday after leaping from his 16th-floor residence at the San Remo apartment building on Central Park West, sources said.

Mr. Wilson had suffered a stroke in June, his accountant, Gary Castle, said.

A friend, Stephen Viscusi, told the New York Post, "He always said he didn't want to suffer, and when the time came, he would be ready." Police said the death was not suspicious.

Mr. Wilson, whose Wall Street career spanned five decades, started Wilson & Associates, a hedge fund, in 1969 after working as a securities analyst. He retired in 1986 and, by 2000, his net worth peaked at about $800 million, Castle said. By then, he had already begun to give most of his money away, donating more than $500 million to charities, primarily to conservation groups, Castle said.

One recipient was World Monuments Fund, dedicated to preserving architectural and cultural heritage sites worldwide. In 1989, Mr. Wilson responded to a direct-mail appeal by the group seeking donations of $25 or more. - Bloomberg News