Berkshire Hathaway released a statement saying that Munger, often described as Buffett’s “right-hand man,” died “peacefully” at a California hospital. No cause of death was provided.
Buffet, 93, said via the statement, “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation.”
Munger served in World War II and then practiced law in California before he met Buffett in 1959 at a dinner party. The two invested in the same companies during the 1960s and 70s and Munger eventually joined Buffett as vice chairman in 1978.
Munger attained a net worth of $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. In a partnership that lasted decades, Munger and Buffett came to acquire some of the most successful stakes in the country with companies including Coca-Cola, American Express, IBM and Wells Fargo.
As his top adviser, Munger transformed Buffett into one of the world’s wealthiest men while growing Berkshire Hathaway from a company that was worth tens of millions, to billions.
“It’s a shock,” Thomas Russo, a partner at Gardner Russo & Quinn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and longtime Berkshire shareholder, told Reuters. “It will leave a big void for investors who have modeled their thoughts, words and activities around Munger and his insights.”
In his later years, Munger also made a name for himself as a philanthropist, funding numerous educational projects including a science center at Harvard-Westlake School, an independent school in Los Angeles, and a research center at the Huntington Library.
He was also passionate about funding architecture, giving $65 billion to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. However, his idea for a windowless dorm building, for which he gave $200 million, at UC Santa Barbara triggered public criticism.