Billionaire financier Thomas H. Lee was discovered by his assistant in his office bathroom with a gunshot wound to the head and his Smith & Wesson revolver by his side.
Lee, 78, was found in an apparent suicide in his office at his Fifth Avenue headquarters in Manhattan shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday.
The Harvard grad had a net worth of approximately $2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes.
According to the New York Post, sources revealed that his assistant went looking for his boss because his associates didn’t know about him.
First responders found Lee lying on his side with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and he was pronounced dead at 11:26 a.m. when lifesaving efforts by paramedics were unsuccessful.
Billionaire financier and investor Thomas H. Lee, 78, pictured here with his wife Ann Tenenbaum in 2019, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday.
Lee, co-founder and chairman of Lee Equity Partners LLC, in his New York office on March 8, 2019.
New York police responded to 767 Fifth Avenue, where Thomas H. Lee Capital, LLC is located on the sixth floor, around 11:10 a.m. and found Lee’s body, it was reported.
The revolver found next to him was reportedly registered and licensed, and the license for the firearm was in the office at the time.
The financier struck gold in his career by acquiring midsize companies, restoring their value and then selling them for incredible profits, and his technique and success at the time was described as the “envy of Wall Street.”
Best known for the $1.7 billion sale of Snapple in 1992, he was famous on Wall Street as a leading Manhattan financier during a lucrative career.
His leveraged buyout deals were legendary in the 1990s: pioneering financial transactions that enabled his company, in some cases, to produce profits of more than 30 times in a matter of years.
Family spokesman Michael Sitrick released a statement on Lee’s death on Thursday: “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, brother, friend, and philanthropist who always put the needs of others first. yours.
‘Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we be allowed to grieve.”
Lee was the founder and chairman of Lee Equity and served as chairman and chief executive officer of Thomas H. Lee Partners, according to Lee Equity’s website.
He founded his Boston-based firm in 1974, and is credited with being an early pioneer in private equity and specifically leveraged buyouts.
Lee is shown golfing with then-President Bill Clinton on Martha’s Vineyard in 1999.
Lee with former NBC host Matt Lauer and socialite Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo in 2005
A source who knew Lee told The Post that he was known for his business savvy and claimed he was the inspiration for Oliver Stone’s ‘Blue Horseshoe Loves Anacott Steel’ from the hit film ‘Wall Street’.
The claim references the secret body language code used by the character Gordon Gekko throughout the blockbuster.
Despite his ruthless reputation, the source also described the billionaire as “one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever met.”
He was particularly noted for his successful management of the beverage company Snapple, which he initially acquired for $135 million.
After investing $28 million in it, he increased the company’s revenue from $95 million to $750 million a year before selling it in 1992 for $1.7 billion.
Throughout his career, he has invested more than $15 billion in hundreds of transactions.
He was also known as a respected art collector and was connected to New York’s elite powerhouses, including Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Lee was married twice, first to Barbara Fish Lee, in 1968. They had two sons, Zach and Robbie, before divorcing in 1995.
He married his second wife Ann Tenenbaum of Savannah, Georgia in 1997 and they had three children: Jesse, Nathan, and Rosalie. He was also survived by two grandchildren.