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Florida jail cell

Gregory Hemingway, author Ernest Hemingway's youngest son who had a long history in Montana, died in a Florida jail Monday. He was 69.

A medical doctor who suffered from bipolar disease and spent his life in the shadow of his legendary father, Hemingway was arrested last week on Key Biscayne, Fla., and charged with indecent exposure.

He died in a jail cell of natural causes, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, according to the Associated Press.

To Ernest Hemingway's millions of readers, Gregory was best known as "Gigi," the nickname his famous dad gave him.

"He went through all this turmoil in his life," said Jim Martin of Missoula. Gregory Hemingway lived in motels owned by the Martin family in the 1980s.

"He was so determined to beat the manic depressiveness and uphold the family name. He'd climb to the top (of the M) even though you'd think it would kill him at 55 years of age. He would crawl down," Martin said.

Pauline Hemingway, Ernest's second wife, gave birth to Gregory in Kansas City on Nov. 12, 1931. The delivering doctor, Don Guffey, received a manuscript of Ernest Hemingway's novel "Death in the Afternoon" in appreciation, according to the Kansas City Star.

Gregory grew up in Key West, Fla., and Havana, Cuba. He got his medical degree from the University of Miami.

He wrote a book about his father, "Papa: A Personal Memoir," published in 1976. About that time, Gregory Hemingway moved his family to Montana.

From 1978 to 1983, he was the only doctor in Jordan and Garfield County. Every other weekend he got in the car and drove home to Bozeman to stay with his third wife, Valerie, and two of his three children at their home in Bridger Canyon.

The couple was married from 1966 until 1987. Their three children are Edward, Vanessa and Sean.

"He was a wonderful father to the children when they were little," Valerie Hemingway said Thursday. "We had many adventures together. He took the two oldest children to Africa to visit his brother, Patrick.

"When he was in good form, he was wonderful. He was very smart and compassionate."

The problem was, he wasn't always in good form.

In addition to the bipolar disease, a malady marked by great mood swings from elation to depression, Hemingway battled dependence on alcohol. And he sometimes dressed in women's clothing.

All the while, his behavior was scrutinized, for he was one of Ernest Hemingway's three sons.

In an interview with the Chronicle in 1982, Gregory said, "If I'd had more talent, I'd have been a writer. But any way you look at it, Ernest Hemingway is a hard act to follow."

Gregory married his fourth wife, Ida, in 1992, and they lived in Ennis. They were divorced in 1996. Valerie Hemingway said she believed the couple had since remarried and lived in Ennis.

In 1997, Gregory and his brothers, Jack and Patrick, joined forces to organize a more dignified version of the rowdy Hemingway Days celebration in Key West, the Associated Press reported.

Jack died in December 2000 and Patrick still lives in Bozeman.

Martin described Gregory, a muscular man, as "Rocky Balboa," the hero of the "Rocky" movies who was able to overcome troubles through physical training. But Gregory recently had a hip replacement and was worried that he could not get outside to exercise, Martin said.

"He was like a second dad to me," Martin said Thursday. "He wrote me a letter of recommendation (that was) the nicest thing anyone ever said about me."

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