Tony Hsieh death: Ex Zappos CEO was dragged unconscious from house on fire, succumbed to injuries 9 days later
Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, who recently retired as the CEO of the online shoe and clothing company Zappos, died at the age of 46.
Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, who recently stepped down as the CEO of the online shoe and clothing company Zappos, died at the age of 46. He died due to house fire injuries that he sustained while visiting family in Connecticut, his firm Downtown Partnership Las Vegas said. Now more details about his death have been revealed. The multimillionaire died on Friday, November 27, nine days after he was dragged unconscious by firefighters from a blazing Connecticut house in the middle of the night.
On November 18, the alarm was raised at 3:30 am, and firefighters had to force their way into the New London home after being told someone was trapped inside, according to fire chief Thomas Curcio. Hsieh needed CPR on the scene and was airlifted from a hospital in New London to a facility in Bridgeport. According to TechCrunch, he had been with one of his brothers in Connecticut, but it is not yet known if anyone else was injured in the fire. Hsieh was taken to Lawrence + Memorial hospital in New London, and later transferred to Bridgeport Hospital in a Lifestar helicopter. His family was with him when he died.
According to records, the property was owned by Rachael Brown, who seems to be a business associate of Hsieh, according to the Hartford Courant.
Brown had bought the house in August, which was around the same time as Hsieh retired from Zappos. However, it is not known if she was also staying at the house at the time of the blaze.
Hsieh was born in Illinois, and was the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He studied at Harvard University before he joined Zappos, which was called ShoeSite.com in 1999. He turned the fledgling internet start-up into a billion-dollar business. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009, but Hsieh stayed with the company until his retirement earlier this year. Apart from being known as a model businessman, he was also known for his workplace ethics and philanthropy.
For years, Hsieh worked to breathe life into downtown Las Vegas, pledging $350 million in 2013 for redevelopment. In that year itself, he shifted Zappos' headquarters into the former Las Vegas City Hall building. MEAWW reported how Hsieh’s living style was completely different from other CEOs, who prefer to live king-size with luxury sports cars, private jets, and million-dollar homes. His home was a Las Vegas Airstream trailer park, where he enjoyed spending his time with Marley, the community pet alpaca. With a net worth of around $800 million, Hsieh could easily afford a lavish place to stay, but he found comfort inside a 240-square-foot trailer home in downtown Las Vegas where he used to pay $950 monthly as rent.
As soon as the news of his death broke, tributes poured in from across the world. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tweeted, "Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas. Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time.” Skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk wrote: “Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone.”
Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas. Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time https://t.co/7TXBUDWZe0— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) November 28, 2020
A beautiful tribute to a true pioneer. Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone. And he was very, very cool. https://t.co/5A78fWpNyv— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) November 28, 2020
Zappos released a statement as reported by The Sun that read, “The world has lost a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being. We recognize that not only have we lost our inspiring former leader, but many of you have also lost a mentor and a friend. Tony played such an integral part in helping create the thriving Zappos business we have today, along with his passion for helping to support and drive our company culture. Tony’s kindness and generosity touched the lives of everyone around him, as his mantra was of 'Delivering Happiness' to others. His spirit will forever be a part of Zappos."