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Miami Herald history: Gianni Versace’s brutal and sensational murder

More: Miami Herald Reader's Guide

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, SROTHAUS@MIAMIHERALD.COM

"Stylish life, brutal death."

I wrote that front-page headline on July 15, 1997, hours after suspected serial killer Andrew Cunanan opened fire on famed Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace, who died on the steps of his Ocean Drive mansion.

The international media swarmed into South Beach to cover the sensational slaying outside Casa Casuarina, 1116 Ocean Dr., three blocks from where Versace had just eaten breakfast at News Cafe.

One week later, celebrity mourners including Elton John, Giorgio Armani and Princess Diana (one month before her own death in Paris) attended the gay fashion icon’s elaborate funeral in Milan, Italy.

The Miami Beach manhunt ended the next day, 41 blocks north of Casa Casuarina.

As police closed in on him, Cunanan shot himself to death aboard a shuttered houseboat.

Investigators never knew exactly why Cunanan, 27, murdered Versace and at least four other men in a spree that took him from Minneapolis to Chicago to South Beach.

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