Thomas H Lee, Legendary Financier, Dead at 78

Thomas H Lee, the American billionaire financier and investor, was found dead on Thursday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his office in Manhattan, according to police officials.[0] He was[1]

The family of the renowned financier and private equity pioneer released a statement on Thursday, saying: “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, we knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, sibling, friend and philanthropist who always put others' needs before his own.”

According to a biographical statement released by his family, Lee founded Thomas H. Lee Partners in 1974 and went on to form Lee Equity in 2006, taking on the roles of chairman and CEO in the latter.[2] He was a renowned philanthropist, particularly for the arts and education, and served as a trustee for several Big Apple art organizations, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.[3]

In 1996, he gifted Harvard University, his alma mater, with a contribution of $22 million, some of which has gone towards furnishing financial aid for students.[4] He is credited with being one of the first financiers to purchase companies with money borrowed against the business being bought — what is now called a leveraged buyout.[5] He famously purchased Snapple, then two years later, sold it for $1.7 billion.[0] In the process, he made 32 times his investment back.[0]

The New York Police Department told the BBC that a 78-year-old man had been found dead on Thursday morning at 767 Fifth Avenue.[3] The cause of death will be officially determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.[4] Lee was married twice, first to Barbara Fish Lee, in 1968.[6] Prior to their divorce in 1995, they had two kids – Zach and Robbie.[7] His second wife was Ann Tenenbaum, who he married in 1997.[8] They had three children: Jesse, Nathan, and Rosalie, as well as two grandchildren.[7]

The family asked for their privacy to be respected and to be allowed to grieve.[9] Lee had an estimated net worth of $2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes magazine.[10]

0. “Billionaire American financer Thomas H. Lee found dead from gunshot wound in New York office” Euro Weekly News, 24 Feb. 2023,

1. “Billionaire investor Thomas H. Lee dead at 78, family says” Business Insider, 23 Feb. 2023,

2. “US billionaire financier Thomas Lee dies at 78, family says” Evening Standard, 24 Feb. 2023,

3. “Albanian Daily News”, 24 Feb. 2023,

4. “Billionaire Financier Thomas H. Lee Found Dead at 78” PEOPLE, 24 Feb. 2023,

5. “Billionaire Thomas H. Lee dead at 78, reportedly from self-inflicted gunshot wound” Seeking Alpha, 24 Feb. 2023,

6. “Thomas H Lee wives: Who are Barbara Fish Lee and Ann Tenenbaum?” Opoyi, 24 Feb. 2023,

7. “NYC billionaire financier Thomas H. Lee, 78, found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound” msnNOW, 24 Feb. 2023,

8. “Billionaire NYC Financier Thomas H. Lee Found Dead of Apparent Gunshot Wound” Yahoo News, 24 Feb. 2023,

9. “Billionaire financier Thomas H. Lee found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound in NYC office: sources” New York Post , 23 Feb. 2023,

10. “Billionaire Thomas H. Lee found dead in apparent suicide at New York office” BNO News, 24 Feb. 2023,

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