Billionaire Financier Thomas Lee Commits Suicide At 78

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US billionaire financier, Thomas Lee, who played a key role in developing leveraged buyout schemes has allegedly committed suicide.

In a statement, Thomas H Lee’s family stated they were “extremely saddened” by his death.

His body was discovered at 767 Fifth Avenue. He died at his Manhattan office, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Forbes estimates that Mr. Thomas Lee was worth $2 billion (£1.6 billion) at the time of his passing.

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Police stated in a statement that they had been called by a Fifth Avenue office just after 11:00 (16:00 GMT) on Thursday morning.

“Upon arrival, EMS [Emergency Medical Services] responded and declared the individual deceased at the scene,” they reported.

A statement by family friend and spokesman Michael Sitrick said: “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.”

Aside with developing the leveraged buyout, Lee is renowned for buying the beverage firm Snapple in 1992 and selling it to Quaker Oats two years later for $1.7 billion, or 32 times what he paid for it.

Thomas Lee was renowned for his philanthropy and had held trusteeships for important New York City art institutions like the Museum of Modern Art and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

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He gave $22 million to his alma mater Harvard University in 1996, some of which has gone toward student financial aid. “I’ve been lucky to make some money. I’m more than happy to give some of it back,” he said at the time.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Tenenbaum, and his five children.

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Photo Credit: Getty

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