The onetime Texas oil wildcatter Boone Pickens turned corporate raider who developed himself a billionaire energy investor and TV pitchman for wind and natural-gas energy died at the age of 91.
He died Wednesday of natural causes, based on spokesperson Jay Rosser. Pickens’s primary residence was in Dallas. In late 2016, he wrote a message on his LinkedIn page announcing he had “many strokes” and then had a “Texas-sized fall” needing hospital treatment. He mentioned he was still mentally sturdy; however, in declining health, adding, “I am in the fourth quarter.”
In late 2017 he listed his 65,000 acres (26,305 hectares) Mesa Vista Ranch in the Texas Panhandle for sale, with an asking price of $250 million. Soon afterward, Pickens shut his hedge fund, writing on his webpage that he wished to invest instead in “personal passions like selling uncontrolled entrepreneurship and philanthropic and political efforts.”
Although he achieved much of his position for takeover proposals in the seventies and eighties, Pickens earned a lot of his wealth in the power futures market after turning 75 in 2003, making billions via his Dallas-based BP Capital LLC by accurately tapping on rising costs for oil and natural gas.
Forbes magazine calculated that Pickens’s net worth doubled in 2005, to $1.5 billion, and doubled again to $3 billion after two years. The journal’s last estimate of his wealth — $950 million, in 2013 — showed losses from the 2008 financial crisis, the millions Pickens spent on philanthropy (along with nearly $500 million to Oklahoma State University, ) and his investments in wind power, a part of his plan to end U.S. dependence on oil from the Middle East.