NEWPORT, R.I. - John R. Drexel III, the head of a powerful Philadelphia banking family and a socialite, has died. He was 87.

Drexel died April 13 of heart failure at his Newport estate, said his daughter, Noreen O'Farrell.

Drexel was a great-great-great-grandson of Francis Martin Drexel, who founded the banking house Drexel & Company in the early 19th century. His great-great grandfather was a business partner of financier J.P. Morgan and founded Drexel University in Philadelphia.

For most of his life, Drexel managed his family's fortune and devoted himself to charities benefiting Newport Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., and an animal shelter in Middletown.

Drexel is survived by his wife, Noreen Stonor, and daughter. The couple played host to the prominent and wealthy over the years. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were guests at their home, while a party for their 25th wedding anniversary attracted Aldriches, Astors and Rockefellers.