Billionaire Thomas H. Lee’s family in ‘dark state’


February 25, 2023 | 3:02 p.m.

The family of tragic billionaire Thomas H. Lee, who killed himself this week in his Manhattan office, is in a “grim state”, according to a friend.

Friends, neighbors and flowers arrived at the family’s East 57th Street apartment building on Saturday, as the financier’s widow Ann was briefly spotted leaving with several friends.

A man who knows the family said the days since Lee’s suicide have been difficult.

Thomas H. Lee is pictured with his wife Ann.

“I don’t think now is the right time as they are in a grim state,” said the man, who declined to be named.

Another resident called for family privacy, noting, “They are hurting.”

Lee, 78, was found Thursday on the bathroom floor of his Fifth Avenue office by an assistant with a gunshot wound to the head, sources said.

Thomas H. Lee’s widow, Ann Tenenbaum, outside their East 57th residence on Friday.
Robert Miller
Ann Tenenbaum and friends declined to comment on Thomas H. Lee’s suicide
Robert Miller

A pal of the Clintons, Lee was once known as “the envy of Wall Street” and was believed to be worth around $2 billion when he died.

White flowers, including hydrangeas, were delivered to the building for Tenenbaum, who has been married to Lee since 1997.

Her body was discovered after the assistant went looking for her boss when he was not heard from, sources said.

Lee and his wife have five children and two grandchildren.
Getty Images for Cinema at Lincoln Center
Lee left behind his widow Ann Tenenbaum.
J Grassi/

First responders found leveraged buyout industry pioneer Lee lying on his side with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, sources said. There was a Smith & Wesson next to him.

Rescue efforts at the scene failed and Lee, a father of five who also had two grandchildren, was pronounced dead at 11:26 a.m., sources said.

Tenenbaum, looking grief-stricken behind large tortoiseshell glasses, returned home around 11:40 a.m. Saturday, shaking her head “no” as she declined to comment.

A woman accompanying Ann said “no comment”, raising her hand in a reporter’s face.

Thomas H. Lee was a pioneer of the leveraged buyout and a major philanthropist.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Another neighbor expressed shock at Lee’s suicide.

“I was just in contact with him two days before,” he said, adding “Nobody seems to know” why Lee took his own life.

The city medical examiner’s office ruled Lee’s death a suicide Friday, citing the cause as a “gunshot wound to the head.”

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Lee left behind five children.

Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The millionaire was found shot in the head.

Robin Marchant

Lee was found by an assistant on the bathroom floor.

Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lee was a Harvard graduate and also an avid art collector who served on the boards of Lincoln Center, NYU Langone and Warner Music, according to Forbes.

By the time of his death, Lee’s meteoric career had become a mere footnote in the leveraged buyout industry he helped create, records show.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free, confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 988 or go to

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