William Cecil

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The owner of the iconic Biltmore Estate in North Carolina has died at his home.

William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil died Tuesday in Asheville. He was 89.

Cecil had a career in finance before returning to Asheville in 1960 in hopes of preserving his childhood home, which was the private estate of his grandfather, George Washington Vanderbilt III.

Cecil’s parents opened the Biltmore house to the public in 1930, but it didn’t make a profit until 1969.

Today, the 8,000-acre estate, French-style chateau and attractions draw more than 1.4 million people annually.