LAS VEGAS: Tony Hsieh, the retired CEO of Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer Zappos.com, who spent years working to transform the downtown area, has passed away. He was 46.
Hsieh was with family when he died on Friday (Nov. 27), according to DTP Companies, which he founded. He died of injuries sustained in a November 18 fire in New London, Connecticut, Downtown Partnership spokesman Megan Fazio told Hearst Connecticut Media Saturday.
The Day newspaper reported on the day of the fire that one person had been removed from a waterfront home in New London with possible burns and smoke inhalation. The person, whose name the authorities did not release, was eventually transferred to Bridgeport Hospital, which has a burn unit.
Fire Chief Thomas Curcio said through The Day that crew members arrived around 3:30 a.m. after a report from someone trapped in part of the house that firefighters had to forcibly enter and remove the victim, perform CPR and take him to a hospital.
Hsieh recently retired from Zappos after leading the company for 20 years. The online shoe store shared a tribute on social media late Friday.
“The world has lost a great visionary and an incredible human,” the statement said. “His mind will forever be a part of Zappos.”
Hsieh graduated from Harvard University and joined the company – then called ShoeSite.com – in 1999. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $ 1.2 billion in 2009, but Hsieh had stayed with the company until his retirement.
“Tony’s kindness and generosity have touched the lives of everyone around him and brightened the world forever,” said a statement from DTP Companies. “Bringing happiness has always been his mantra, so instead of mourning his transition, we ask you to celebrate his life with us.”
Hsieh also worked for years to revitalize downtown Las Vegas and pledged $ 350 million for redevelopment in 2013. The same year, he moved Zappos headquarters to the former Las Vegas City Hall.
“Tony Hsieh was instrumental in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas,” Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tweeted Friday night. “Kathy and I extend our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Much tribute came on social media.
“Your curiosity, vision, and unwavering focus on customers leave an indelible mark,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and president, wrote on Instagram. “You will be missed by so many, Tony. Rest in peace.”
“Tony Hsieh is arguably the most original thinker I’ve ever been friends with,” tweeted former venture investor Chris Sacca. He questioned every assumption and shared everything he learned along the way. He really loved making everyone happy. “
Skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk added, “Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone. “
“A truly original thinker, a brilliant entrepreneur and a kind-hearted and generous friend to so many,” tweeted entrepreneur Max Levchin.
Ali Partovi, CEO of the Neo venture capital fund, was a partner in one of Hsieh’s first ventures, the Internet advertising company LinkExchange. In a tweet on Saturday, Partovi said Hsieh was one of the most creative people he’d ever known.
“I will remember your unique combination of genius and mischief, and your furious ability to bet and win against all odds,” said Partovi.