Billionaire financier and investor Thomas H. Lee was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Manhattan office on Thursday morning, police sources said.
Cops responded to a 911 call at 767 Fifth Avenue — where Thomas H. Lee Capital, LLC is located on the sixth floor — at around 11:10 a.m., the sources said.
EMTs pronounced the 78-year-old businessman dead at the scene.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the official cause of death.
“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, sibling, friend and philanthropist who always put others’ needs before his own,” Lee family friend and spokesperson Michael Sitrick said in a statement.
“Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we be allowed to grieve.”
A front desk worker at Lee’s office building was told there was an “emergency,” on the sixth floor, but was unaware of Lee’s death.
“They don’t want anyone going to that space right now, not even the building staff,” the man said.
Lee is credited with being one of the first financiers to purchase companies with money borrowed against the business being bought — what is now called a leveraged buyout.
The Harvard graduate founded Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. in 1974, serving as the chairman and CEO of the company and its predecessors.
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