Family of billionaire Thomas H. Lee in ‘dismal condition’


February 25, 2023 | 3:02 PM

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

Friends, neighbors and flowers came in a steady stream to the family’s East 57th Street apartment building on Saturday, when 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 tough.

“I don’t think it’s a good time because they’re in a dismal state,” said the man, who declined to give his name.

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

Lee, 78, was found by a female assistant Thursday on the bathroom floor of his Fifth Avenue office 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 her friends declined to comment on Thomas H. Lee’s suicide
Robert Miller

Lee, a friend of the Clintons, was once known as the “envy of Wall Street” and believed to be worth an estimated $2 billion when he died.

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

His body was discovered after the assistant went looking for her boss while he had not been heard from, sources said.

Lee and his wife have five children and two grandchildren.
Getty Images for Film at Lincoln Center

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

Life-saving efforts at the scene were unsuccessful, and Lee, a father of five who also had two grandchildren, was pronounced dead at 11:26 a.m., sources said.

Tenenbaum, who looked distressed behind large tortoiseshell glasses, returned to her residence around 11:40 a.m. Saturday and shook her head “no” as she declined comment.

A woman accompanying Ann said “no comment” and held her hand in front of 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 only had contact with him two days before,” he said, adding “Nobody seems to know” why Lee killed himself.

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

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

By the time he died, Lee’s one-time fast-paced 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, call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or visit

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