Billionaire Thomas H. Lee’s family is said to be ‘suffering’ after the ‘envy of Wall Street’ shot themselves dead earlier this week.
Lee, 78, died of an apparent suicide in his office at his Fifth Avenue headquarters in New York shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday.
According to Forbes, the Harvard graduate had a net worth of around $2 billion at the time of his death.
That says a source close to the family New York Post that, of course, they are in a “gloomy state,” while another says they are “suffering.”
The family, led by Lee’s wife Ann Tennenbaum, has received condolences at their East 57th Street apartment in Manhattan.
The family of billionaire Thomas H. Lee (pictured left) – including wife Ann Tennenbaum (pictured right) is said to be ‘suffering’ after the ‘envy of Wall Street’ fatally shot himself earlier this week
“I don’t think it’s a good time because they’re in a dismal state,” said the family’s anonymous friend.
Another neighbor said they had spoken to Lee just two days earlier and that “no one seems to know” why the billionaire killed himself.
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 paramedics’ life-saving efforts were unsuccessful. It is currently unclear why Lee committed suicide.
The financier rose to prominence for acquiring medium-sized companies, restoring their value, then selling them for huge profits – and his success has seen him dubbed the “envy of Wall Street.”
After graduating from Harvard in 1965, he first worked as a securities analyst for the research division of LF Rothschild & Company.
He later moved into banking and worked for First National Bank of Boston, rising to vice president and leading the high-tech lending group at the bank.
Nearly a decade into his financial career, he started his company Lee Equity in 1974. During this time, he is credited as one of the early pioneers of private equity and specifically leveraged buyouts.
Billionaire financier and investor Thomas H. Lee, 78, was found dead Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is pictured in his Manhattan offices with what is believed to be Jeff Koon’s famous artwork Gazing Ball, which has an estimated value of up to $60,000.
The NYPD 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
Thomas H. Lee, 78, pictured here with his wife Ann Tenenbaum in 2019, was found dead Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
He was best known for selling Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1992, which he initially acquired for $135 million. After investing $28 million in the company, he increased the company’s revenue from $95 million to $750 million a year before later selling it.
His leveraged-buy-out deals were legendary in the 1990s – groundbreaking financial transactions that enabled his company to make more than 30 times its profits in just a few short years.
He reportedly went by the self-proclaimed nickname “Tomcat,” which he revealed at an event in 2014 because he had “nine different lives.”
Speaking to DailyMail.com, a resident on the board of directors of Lee’s building, who had known the financier for 23 years, said Lee was known for his “great sense of humor” among those he met.
“He was a great guy,” he said. “I’m as shocked as anyone. He was an extraordinary person, very successful and with a nice family.
Lee, 78, was found dead yesterday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Fifth Avenue office
A fixture of the New York City social scene, Lee is shown with Bob Kraft and Glenn and Eva Dubin (far right), both of whom were friends with Jeffrey Epstein
“He was very positive, very friendly, just a really nice guy… He was always smiling, always saw the humor in everything, a great entertainer.”
Following the news of Lee’s suicide, family spokesperson Michael Sitrick issued a statement: ‘The family is extremely saddened by the death of Tom.
While the world knew him as one of the pioneers of the private equity business and a successful businessman, we knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, sibling, friend and philanthropist who always put the needs of others above the needs of others. himself suggested.
“Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we may mourn.”
A 1997 Forbes profile described him as “that rare thing on Wall Street – a really nice guy.”
Lee is pictured playing golf 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
Lee was known for owning one of the most lucrative homes in East Hampton, New York
An insider who knew Lee told The Post 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 refers to the secret body language code used by character Gordon Gekko during the blockbuster.
Despite his ruthless reputation, the billionaire was also described by the source as “one of the most generous and kindest people I’ve ever met.”
Throughout his career, he invested more than $15 billion in hundreds of transactions.
In 2010, a fund controlled by Lee was sued by a trustee seeking to recover money swindled by notorious Ponzi twilightist Bernie Madoff.
He was also known as a respected art collector and associated with New York’s elite power brokers, including the Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Lee reportedly allowed the couple to stay at his mansion in East Hampton, New York following Hillary’s failed 2008 presidential run. His Hamptons home was known as one of the most prominent in the area.
A philanthropist and trustee, the billionaire has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Brandeis University, Harvard University and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Lee was married twice – first to Barbara Fish Lee, in 1968. They had two children, 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.