Billionaire American financer Thomas H. Lee found dead from gunshot wound in New York office

Image of the General Motors Building in Manhattan, New York. Credit: Google maps - ricardo galeano

Thomas H. Lee, the American billionaire financier and investor found dead in his New York office from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Thomas H. Lee, the American billionaire financier and investor was found dead this morning, Thursday, February 23. According to police sources, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his office in New York’s Manhattan district.

Sources told the New York Post that NYPD officers responded at around 11:10am to a 991 call from an address on 767 Fifth Avenue. The offices of Thomas H. Lee Capital, LLC, are located on the sixth floor of the 50-storey General Motors Building at Grand Army Plaza on the southeast corner of Central Park.

A 78-year-old man was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene by EMTs. The official cause of death of the deceased businessman will be determined by the subsequent post-mortem examination of the body.

What is now commonly known as a leveraged buyout has been widely credited as being the brainchild of Thomas H. Lee. It involves the purchase of a company using money borrowed against the business that is being bought.

In 1992, Lee famously purchased Snapple, then two years later, sold it for $1.7 billion. In the process, the private equity pioneer made 32 times his investment back.

He was not always so successful in his ventures. He led a deal in 1999 to buy what would later become known as Vertis Communications. At the time, it was North America’s fifth-largest printing company. By 2006 the business had dropped to ninth as it was unable to keep pace with its competitors and in 2008, it ended up filing for bankruptcy.

Lee formed Lee Equity Partners in 2005 after parting company with his business partners in Thomas H. Lee Partners, leaving it to be run by Scott Sperling.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at