Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021

Tony Hsieh: Former boss of Zappos and Las Vegas entrepreneur dies after house fire

Tony Hsieh, the retired boss of fashion brand Zappos who spent years helping develop downtown Las Vegas, has died at the age of 46.

He died several days after suffering injuries in a house fire in New London, Connecticut, surrounded by his family.

A fire chief told US media that firefighters were called to the property at around 3.30am (8.30am GMT) on Friday after reports of a man trapped in a part of a house. He added they had to force their way in and remove the victim, perform CPR and then take him to hospital.

Mr Hsieh, a Harvard graduate, joined Zappos, then called ShoeSite, in 1999, and stayed with the brand for 20 years, even after its $1.2bn (£880m) sale to Amazon in 2009.

The company shared a tribute following the announcement of his death, saying: “The world has lost a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being.

“His spirit will forever be a part of Zappos.”

As well as running the fashion firm, Mr Hsieh was known for his work in redeveloping downtown Las Vegas, stumping up $350m for a regeneration project in the city in 2013, shortly after moving his company’s headquarters there.

The money he pledged helped start-ups, restaurants and other businesses get off the ground, in an effort to transform a once-neglected part of the city.

He also wrote a book called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion And Purpose in 2010, scoring him a place at the top of the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, led the tributes on social media, saying: “Celebrating the life while mourning the loss of my dear friend Tony Hsieh.

“Tony was a deeply original thinker always challenging me to reject conformity & follow my heart. Tony was driven by the mission of delivering happiness & brought joy to all who knew him. Rest In Peace Tony”

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos added his condolences on Instagram, saying: “The world lost you way too soon. Your curiosity, vision, and relentless focus on customers leave an indelible mark. You will be missed by so many, Tony. Rest In Peace.”

Pro skater Tony Hawk was also among those sharing memories of Mr Hsieh, writing: “A beautiful tribute to a true pioneer. Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone.

“And he was very, very cool.”

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