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PE pioneer Lee found dead

Thomas H Lee, widely regarded as a pioneer of private equity investment and leveraged buyouts, has been found dead at the age of 78 at his office in Manhattan. According to a New York Post report citing unidentified police sources, the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lee’s body was discovered on Thursday morning at 767 Fifth Avenue after police responded to an emergency 911 call at around 11.10am local time.

Lee, who was the founder and chairman of Lee Equity, which he formed in 2006, and also served as chairman and CEO of Thomas H Lee Partners, which he founded in 1974, was responsible for investing more than $15 billion of capital in hundreds of transactions over a career spanning 46 years.

One of his most famous deals was the acquisition of drinks company Snapple which he sold two years later for $1.7 billion – 32 times the price he paid to buy the business.

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.”

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