A billionaire financier considered a pioneer of private equity investing has been found dead in his New York office after a reported suicide.
While the family of 78-year-old Thomas (Tom) H Lee has confirmed he has died, there has been no official confirmation. New York Police Department (NYPD) regarding his identity or cause of death.
However, the New York Post said police sources told the paper that he was found dead in his office at the headquarters of his investment firm Lee Equity on Thursday morning.
The newspaper added that the source described the cause of death as a “self-inflicted gunshot wound”.
U.S. media have not reported any signs of ill health or financial hardship, while police have given no indication that a murder investigation is ongoing.
In its official response, the NYPD said the city medical examiner’s office will determine the cause and manner of death.
In a statement, relatives said: “The family is devastated by Tom’s death.
“Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we be allowed to grieve.”
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He is considered a pioneer of leveraged buyouts — using large amounts of borrowed money to buy another company to pay for the acquisition.
Mr. Lee founded Lee Equity in 2006 after serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas H. Lee Partners, which he founded in 1974.
The family said he was responsible for spending more than $15bn (£12.5bn) across hundreds of deals, including the acquisition and subsequent sale of brands including Snapple Beverages and Warner Music.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can contact Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email@example.com in the UK. In the U.S., call your area Samaritan chapter or dial 1 (800) 273-TALK