Charlie Munger: The Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Passes Away

Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and a well-known billionaire philanthropist, passed away in California on Tuesday night at the age of 99. His quiet passing in a California hospital was confirmed by a statement from Berkshire Hathaway. In expressing gratitude for Munger’s “inspiration, wisdom, and participation,” Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett highlighted the crucial role that Munger had in the company’s success.

Munger, who would have turned 100 on New Year’s Day, was born in 1924 and started out as a real estate lawyer. Before partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett in 1978, he was a renowned partner in the Los Angeles legal firm Munger, Tolles & Olson. Munger was a Harvard Law School graduate with a degree in meteorology as well. His love in engineering contributed to Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in BYD, a Chinese automaker.

Despite Munger’s involvement, Berkshire Hathaway has consistently reduced its stake in BYD, with the latest sale occurring on October 25, bringing the company’s stake down to 7.98% from 8.05%. Munger’s passing follows Warren Buffett’s recent donation of $866 million worth of Berkshire’s stock as he contemplates retirement after nearly six decades in the business.

Buffett and Munger’s friendship predates Buffett’s leadership at Berkshire Hathaway, with Buffett being instrumental in kickstarting Munger’s investment career. The connection between the two extended beyond business, as evidenced by a tweet from investor Mohnish Pabrai, who shared a meal with Charlie just a month before his passing, noting Munger’s good health.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook paid tribute to Munger, calling him a “titan of business and a keen observer of the world.”

Munger was known for his outspoken criticism of cryptocurrencies, denouncing them as “worthless” and likening them to a venereal disease. In a previous interview, Munger expressed his disbelief in choosing to invest in cryptocurrencies, asserting that governments erred in permitting their widespread use. One of Munger’s notable quotes emphasized the importance of continuous learning in a well-lived life: “I think a life properly lived is just learn, learn, learn all the time.”

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