American Thomas H. Lee, the billionaire financier considered a pioneer of private equity investing and leveraged buyouts, has died at the age of 78, his family said Thursday.
this New York City The chief medical examiner’s office said Friday the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Lee was found dead at the offices of his investment firm on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan when police responded to a 911 emergency call around 11:10 a.m. (1610 GMT) on Thursday morning.
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“The family is devastated by Tom’s death,” Lee’s family said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we be allowed to grieve.”
Lee is the founder and chairman of Lee Equity, which he founded in 2006, and previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Thomas H. Lee Partners, which he founded in 1974, according to a biographical statement released by his family.
Over the past 46 years, Lee has been responsible for investing more than $15 billion in hundreds of transactions, including the acquisition and subsequent sale of brands such as Snapple Beverages and Warner Music.
Also known as a philanthropist and trustee, he has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Brandeis University, Harvard University, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.