Photographer with ties to NYC dies in fall at luxury hotel in Chicago

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Eric Paul Janssen

CHICAGO, Illinois -- A newspaper executive with a passion for New York City died after falling from a luxury hotel in Chicago earlier this week.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office identified the man as 44-year-old Eric Paul Janssen of Memphis, Tennessee.

Janssen was pronounced dead at the scene after falling from the 20th floor of the LondonHouse hotel shortly after 5 p.m. ET Monday and landing on the sixth floor roof.

Autopsy results showed that Janssen died from multiple injuries after falling from a great height. The fall was an accident, the medical examiner said.

A LinkedIn profile said Janssen was vice president of audience reach for the Sandusky Newspaper Group, which operates 12 community newspapers and 31 websites in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Utah.

He also has connections to New York City and visited often, posting many photos of the city on his Instagram.

On July 9, Janssen posted that he wanted to relocate to the Big Apple.

"I'm starting to make plans to move to New York City. Just the very early planning stage but this last visit has convinced me that in spite of the crappy weather in the winter I want to make the Big Apple my home - soon. Specifically the West Village. Not sure when I'll be able to make this happen but all goals have to start somewhere."

He included this photo:

Police initially said the man was working on the building when he fell from a 23rd floor ledge to a 6th-story rooftop. But a statement from the Hilton-owned LondonHouse said, "He was not a hotel employee," and published reports said he was not authorized to be in that area.

A police source said Janssen may have been taking photographs at the time, but was "not trespassing" in the hotel.

Janssen fell from a parapet wall, which is a narrow wall that surrounds high floors of tall buildings.

"Usually they're eight to 12 inches wide, and it would go around the outside edge of the building," said Steve Sicurella, a contract worker familiar with parapet walls.

Janssen posted of photo of himself near a rooftop ledge over the weekend, before the fall.

Instagram users from across the country have been posting tributes to Janssen, who enjoyed urban exploring with his camera.

The LondonHouse is located at 85 East Wacker Drive in the Loop and overlooks the Chicago River.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.