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Hendrix's Brother Drops Suit

Control of estate remains with guitarist's stepsister

March 20, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Leon Hendrix has abandoned his defamation suit against stepsister Janie Hendrix for her claim that Leon and late rocker Jimi Hendrix were only half brothers. However, Leon will continue his fight to wrest control of Jimi's estate from Janie, who is no blood relation to Jimi but is the president of the estate's managing company Experience Hendrix.

Leon maintains that he is indeed the son of Jimi's father, Al Hendrix, but his unwillingness to take a DNA test has prompted Janie's camp to question whether Leon is sure that the test will come out in his favor.

"It's difficult to understand why he wouldn't be willing to provide a simple cheek swab of his DNA for genetic testing," says Janie's attorney John Wilson. "That would prove conclusively whether or not he is Al's biological son. If it is established that Leon is not Al's biological son, that substantially undercuts Leon's claims to a portion of [Jimi's] estate."

Leon says he dropped the defamation suit because the costs would exceed any potential financial reward. He says that he still may take a DNA test but chooses not to do so now because "it clouds the issue. Janie is using all of this talk about DNA to distract from the real lawsuit."

The real lawsuit Leon refers to is his pursuit of total control of Jimi's estate. Leon claims that he was cheated out of his proper share of Al's inheritance and that Janie's various marketing strategies have damaged Jimi's legacy.

Janie contends that the family squabbling is doing the most harm. "It takes our focus away from the work we are doing here at Experience Hendrix," she says, "honoring and preserving Jimi's legacy."

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