Tragic Passing of Billionaire Financier Thomas H. Lee
Billionaire financier Thomas H. Lee was found dead on Thursday, February 23, at his office in Manhattan, New York. According to police sources, the 78-year-old died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lee was a pioneering figure in private equity and leveraged buyouts. He founded Thomas H. Lee Partners in 1974, a private equity firm which invested more than $15 billion in hundreds of transactions. His most famous leveraged buyout was the purchase of Snapple in 1992 for $135 million, which he sold two years later for $1.7 billion.
Lee was also a philanthropist and served as trustee of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, NYU Langone Medical Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other civic and charitable organizations. In 1996, he donated $22 million to his alma mater Harvard University, part of which has been used to provide financial aid for students.
At the time of his death, Lee had a net worth of roughly $2 billion, according to Forbes. A statement from his family said they were “extremely saddened” by his death and asked for privacy to grieve.
First responders found Lee lying on his side with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and he was pronounced dead at 11:26am when paramedics' lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. The cause of Lee's suicide remains unknown.
Lee is survived by his wife, Ann Tenenbaum, and his five children.
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