BY KELLY HOUSE, khouse@MiamiHerald.com
J. Wallace Tutt III, a South Florida interior designer and developer whose elegant, understated style attracted a celebrity clientele that included Cher, Gianna Versace, and Robert De Niro, died Saturday morning in the Bahamas.
The cause of death was unclear.
Bahamian police said they were investigating Tutt's death, but would not comment on whether foul play was suspected.
Tutt, 53, lived on a private island he owned off of Harbour Island. He also maintained a penthouse on Miami Beach's Sunset Harbor.
Longtime friend Dan Sehres, owner of Miami Beach's Bar 721, said Tutt's body is being flown to Nassau, Bahamas, for an autopsy.
Bahamian officials were unable to confirm that.
``He was a gentleman that was truly a great friend,'' Sehres said.
``Honestly, I'm going to miss that. He's one of those people I thought I was going to know forever.''
Tutt's most recent local accomplishment was the renovation of The Angler's hotel, completed in 2007. But for the past several years, he had been spending much of his time at his Bahamian masterpiece: The Rock House, a 1940s-era house that Tutt converted into a luxury boutique hotel.
Top photo by Marice Cohn Band / Miami Herald Staff
Portrait by John VanBeekum / Miami Herald Staff