American billionaire financier Thomas Lee dies by suicide at 78
United States (US) billionaire financier Thomas Haskell Lee, one of the early pioneers in private equity and leveraged buyouts, has passed away at 78. According to New York Post, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Manhattan office, and efforts to revive him had been unsuccessful. Confirming his death, Lee's family issued a statement, saying they were "extremely saddened" by his demise.
Lee was found on floor by assistant
On Thursday, around 11:10 am local time, cops responded to an emergency call from his investment firm's Fifth Avenue Manhattan office after his assistant saw him lying on the bathroom floor in his office. She had reportedly gone to look for him after not hearing from him since the morning. First responders reportedly described finding Lee "with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head."
Lee's family friend-spokesperson issues statement
"The family is extremely saddened by Tom's death. While the world knew him as one of the pioneers in the private equity business and a successful businessman," Lee's family friend and spokesperson, Michael Sitrick, said as per Fox News. "We knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, sibling, friend, and philanthropist who always put others' needs before his own."
A little on late American financier
Along with pioneering the leveraged buyout, the Lee Equity founder was also known for his business acumen, such as acquiring beverage company Snapple in 1992 and selling it two years later for 32 times the value to Quaker Oats for $1.7 billion. In the last 46 years, Lee invested $15 billion in hundreds of businesses, including the purchase and sale of Warner Music.
Lee also known for philanthropic deeds
Lee was also known for his philanthropic acts, having served on boards of prominent New York City art institutions such as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Museum of Modern Art. In 1996, he donated $22M to his alma mater, Harvard University, which has been partly used for student financial aid. Lee leaves behind his wife, Ann Tenenbaum, and five children.