NEW: Friend of Clintons Found Dead From Apparent Suicide

Billionaire private equity financier Thomas H. Lee was found dead in his Fifth Avenue Manhattan office on Thursday, an apparent suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police were called around 11:00 on Thursday and EMTs determined that the 78-year-old was dead. The medical examiner will investigate to officially determine the cause of death.

Lee was one of the first to employ leveraged buyouts — purchasing companies using money that is borrowed against the company being bought.

“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.

Lee founded Thomas H. Lee Partners in 1974 until he left to form Lee Equity Partners in 2006. He was also a big philanthropist, contributing to many art-related organizations including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He also gave $22 million to Harvard University.

In one incredible move, Lee orchestrated the sale of Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994 two years after he bought it, then made a return of 32 times equity. He was worth $2 billion at his death.

Lee was married twice and had five children as well as two grandchildren.

One of the other things of note is that he was a good friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

After Hillary flamed out in the 2008 primary against Barack Obama, she and Bill went to stay at Lee’s East Hampton estate. He was a political donor and bundler for Hillary Clinton including during her 2016 run…CONTINUE READING»>

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