Charlie Munger, the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s close friend and right-hand man for six decades, died Tuesday. He was 99.
The company announced Munger’s death in a news release on Tuesday, CNBC reported. Munger’s family told the company that he died peacefully at a California hospital.
Munger would defer to Buffett in public during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings, telling shareholders that “I have nothing to add,” according to The Wall Street Journal. But in private, the company’s chairman routinely listened to Munger’s advice.
“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.
In addition to his duties at Berkshire Hathaway, Munger was a real estate attorney and chairman-publisher of the Daily Journal Corp., CNBC reported. He was also a member of Costco Wholesale Corp.’s board, an architect and a philanthropist, according to the news outlet.
Munger began managing investment partnerships in 1962, The Wall Street Journal reported. Through the next seven years, Munger’s partnerships returned annualized gains of 24.4%.
By the time he joined Berkshire Hathaway in 1975 as vice chairman, Munger’s portfolios gained an average of 19.8% annually, according to the newspaper.
Munger was CEO and chairman of Wesco Financial from 1984 to 2011, when Berkshire Hathaway bought the remaining shares of the Pasadena, California-based insurance and investment company he did not own, CNBC reported.
During their six-decade association, Munger and Buffett lived more than 1,500 miles apart, but the chairman would call his sidekick to consult on his major decisions, according to The Associated Press.
Munger was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on Jan. 1, 1924, The Wall Street Journal reported. He majored in mathematics at the University of Michigan and then left to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
After the war, Munger persuaded a dean at Harvard Law School to admit him without a college degree. He would graduate magna cum laude, according to the newspaper.
Munger grew up approximately five blocks away from Buffett’s current home, the news organization reported. They did not meet as youths, although both worked at the grocery store run by Buffett’s grandfather and uncle.
In 2015, Buffett wrote that he learned a valuable lesson from Munger: “Forget what you know about buying fair businesses at wonderful prices; instead, buy wonderful businesses at fair prices.”
Berkshire Hathaway “has been built to Charlie’s blueprint,” Buffett said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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