DOWNTOWN — A fundraiser for the children of Eric Janssen — the man who fell to his death last week while taking photos near the top of the luxury LondonHouse hotel off Michigan Avenue — has raised more than $10,000 since going online just four days ago.
The response is overwhelming to Constance Janssen, Eric's ex-wife and mother of their three children.
Janssen, of Memphis, Tenn., hopes to raise $30,000 through GoFundMe for the kids' college fund. But she also wants the public to remember their father was a good man and not just a careless thrill-seeker.
"He didn't do drugs, wasn't a big gambler or drinker," Janssen said. "He was probably an adrenaline junkie, but it gave him a unique perspective on the world."
Eric Janssen, 44, died Oct. 16 after falling from a LondonHouse ledge onto a sixth-floor roof behind the hotel. He was taking photos at the time, and a quick search of his Instagram feed showed he often shot pictures from city rooftops and abandoned buildings, among other vantage points.
The hobby forged a bond between Janssen and like-minded photographers, Constance said. The GoFundMe page she set up says Eric lived by a motto: "live a great story."
"It was his art, I don't know how else to put it," she said. Janssen was also most recently a vice president at Sandusky Newspaper Group in Tennessee.
Constance, who is the mother of Eric's two youngest children and stepmother of his oldest, said they split about five years ago, saying Eric was "just more career-minded."
Eric re-entered the children's lives about two years ago, though, moving back to Memphis in a bid to make up for lost time, she said.
"He loved them very much and didn't mean to leave them," she said.
Eric's 22-year-old daughter has one year left in school. He also left behind a 17-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter who also plan on attending college.
Constance said she set up the fundraiser as a "final tribute" to Eric's legacy. Based on the number of donations she's received so far, Constance is sure Eric left quite a mark.
"He was able to touch a lot of lives," she said.