The founder and retired CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, Tony Hsieh, died last week from complications of smoke inhalation he suffered from a house fire in Connecticut. The death has been ruled an accident, according to the state medical examiner.
The 46-year-old had been rescued from a house fire nine days before his death. He was reportedly trapped inside of a storage area during the fire and firefighters had to break in and pull the unresponsive Hsieh form the building before he was rushed to a local hospital.
Hsieh had led Zappos for 20 years and just recently retired in August. The Harvard graduate grew up in San Francisco and sold his first company to Microsoft back in 1998 at just 24 years old. Hsieh used the profits from that sale to start a venture capital firm which invested in a shoe retail website called shoesite.com that eventually turned into Zappos. In 2009, Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion.
Hsieh is also credited with revitalizing downtown Las Vegas where Zappos is located, after his other company, DTP, invested more than $350 million in development of small businesses, restaurants and other services in the area.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak sent condolences through a tweet to Hsieh’s family and friends, saying “Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas. Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Recently, Hsieh had been purchasing homes in Park City, Utah, including a 17,350-square-foot mansion. The home was one of at least eight he had recently purchased in the area.