Billionaire financier, 78, is found dead inside Fifth Avenue office, in downtown New York City
Financier and investor Thomas H. Lee, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his office in Manhattan on Thursday
Worth $2billion according to Forbes, Lee was the founder and chairman of Lee Equity and had served as chairman and CEO of Thomas H. Lee Partners
He’s credited with being one of the pioneers in private equity – specifically leveraged buyouts
A New York billionaire financier and investor was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his office in his company’s Manhattan office.
The death of Thomas H. Lee, 78, was confirmed in a statement released by his family on Thursday.
Police discovered Lee’s body around 11:10 a.m. at his office on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where his business Thomas H. Lee Capital, LLC is located.
Lee had a net worth of roughly $2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes.
Lee was the founder and chairman of Lee Equity and had served as chairman and CEO of Thomas H. Lee Partners, according to the Lee Equity website.
He founded his firm in 1974, and is credited with being one of the early pioneers in private equity and specifically leveraged buyouts.
The businessman may be best known for the purchase of Snapple in 1994, and then selling it two years later for $1.7 billion, a return of 32 times equity.
Lee and his first wife Barbara Fish Lee, were divorced in 1995. He remained married to second wife, Ann Tenenbaum of Savannah, Georgia. He is survived by Barbara and his five kids.
Lee was a good friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton and in June 2008, following Hillary’s unsuccessful presidential run, the couple reportedly stayed at his East Hampton home.
Family friend and spokesperson Michael Sitrick released a statement about Lee’s death on Thursday on behalf of the family: ‘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.
The statement continued: ‘Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we be allowed to grieve.’