New York (Daily Pakistan Online) American billionaire Thomas Lee, who was considered the founder of private equity investment and leveraged buyout, committed suicide at the age of 78 in his Manhattan office on Thursday.
The billionaire businessman was pronounced dead at his Fifth Avenue Manhattan office, the headquarters of his investment firm, around 11:10 a.m. local time on Thursday, the New York Post reported. Authorities say Thomas Lee died of a ‘self-inflicted gunshot wound’ and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.
His body was found when a female assistant did not hear Thomas Lee’s voice since the morning she went to look for him and found him dead on the bathroom floor. Police say Thomas Lee committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
According to Fox News, Thomas Lee’s family friend and spokesman, Michael Setrik, said in a statement: ‘The family is deeply saddened by Tom’s death. We knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and philanthropist who always put the needs of others before his own.’
Thomas Lee was the founder and chairman of Lee Equity, which he founded in 2006. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Thomas H. Lee Partners, which he founded in 1974. Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Brandeis University, Harvard University and the Museum of Jewish Heritage were among the institutions on whose boards he served as a trustee and philanthropist.
Over the past 46 years, Thomas Lee has invested more than $15 billion in hundreds of deals, including the purchase and subsequent sale of iconic brands such as Warner Music and Snapple Beverages. According to reports, he was one of the first financiers to buy a business using borrowed money against the enterprise. This is now called a ‘leveraged buyout’.