Tony Hsieh spoke of entering rehab the night before he was found unconscious in shed at girlfriend's mansion
Tony Hsieh, the founder and retired CEO of shoe retailer Zappos, was reportedly planning to admit himself at a rehab center in Hawaii but died before executing his plan. The venture capitalist died on November 27, days after being rescued out of a burning shed at his girlfriend's house. The cause of his death was determined as smoke inhalation as a result of a Connecticut house fire. The Wall Street Journal reported that Hsieh’s friends had warned him against constant abuse of drugs and alcohol. The 46-year-old eventually admitted to his addictions and was planning to enter the rehab clinic the very night before he died.
It has been reported that psychedelic mushrooms and ecstasy were the substances that Hsieh had been experimenting with before his death. He also reportedly had a “longstanding fascination” with fire. A real estate agent, who sold the late multimillionaire his house in Park City, Utah, said that he possessed over 1,000 candles. In addition, Hsieh tried to prove many times that he could live without oxygen, tried not to urinate for days, and starved himself until his weight went below 100lbs.
An earlier report stated that singer Jewel, a longtime friend of Hsieh, penned a letter for him in August, where she told him he was getting into trouble by taking too many drugs. "I am going to be blunt. I need to tell you that I don’t think you are well and in your right mind. I think you are taking too many drugs that cause you to disassociate. The people you are surrounding yourself with are either ignorant or willing to be complicit in you killing yourself. When you look around and realize that every single person around you is on your payroll, then you are in trouble. You are in trouble, Tony. If the world could see how you are living, they would not see you as a tech visionary, they would see you as a drug addicted man who is a cliche. And that's not how you should go down or be known. Your body cannot take not sleeping. And the amount of N2O you are doing is not natural. You will not hack sleep and you will not outsmart nature,” Jewel said in the letter obtained by Forbes.
On November 18, Hsieh was taken out in an unconscious state from the burning shed that was attached to a $1.3 million home in New London, Connecticut. “The male is barricaded inside and not answering the door. Everyone else is outside the house. They are trying to get him to open up,” a 911 dispatch tape from that time revealed. But despite all the efforts, he lost his life on November 27. Though not many details about the fire have been made available yet, authorities have said smoke inhalation was the cause of his death and the fire was accidental.
Reports also said that Hsieh used to have a heater in the shed of his girlfriend's house so that he could decrease the level of oxygen. “His heavy alcohol and drug use was known by everyone around him. Anyone that challenged him about it was cast aside. The talk among his former colleagues at Zappos is that Tony was likely in the shed blacked out drunk and on drugs. He was a major alcoholic and a drug addict. He was hardcore,” a colleague told WSJ.
Another working mate, who was close to Hsieh, added: “In recent months the nitrous oxide had become as important to Tony as his alcohol. And Grey Goose vodka was his best friend. He would take dozens of them a day. He lived a crazy, eccentric life. The drugs often made him hallucinate, he became paranoid - that could explain why he barricaded himself in. Tony was very fond of candles. He liked to set the atmosphere. The guess is that he managed to ignite one of the nitrous oxide canisters which caused a small explosion that killed him.”