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Ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh died following fire at Connecticut home

Tony Hsieh, 46, died on Friday after a nine-day battle to overcome injuries from a house fire

Tony Hsieh, 46, died on Friday after a nine-day battle to overcome injuries from a house fire

Tony Hsieh, 46, died on Friday after a nine-day battle to overcome injuries from a house fire

The multimillionaire former CEO of online shoe store Zappos died on Friday, โอเล่777 nine days after he was dragged unconscious by firefighters from a blazing Connecticut house in the middle of the night.

Tony Hsieh, who was worth an estimated $840 million, had retired three months earlier from the billion-dollar business he helped found, and was just 46 years old.

The alarm was raised at 3:30am on November 18 and firefighters forced their way into the New London home after being told someone was trapped inside, according to fire chief Thomas Curcio. 

Hsieh needed CPR on the scene of the fire and was airlifted from an initial hospital in New London to a facility in Bridgeport.

Hsieh had been with one of brothers in Connecticut, reports, but it is not known if anyone else was injured in the blaze.

Hsieh was taken to Lawrence + Memorial hospital in New London, and later transferred to Bridgeport Hospital in a Lifestar helicopter. 

When Hsieh died on Friday, his family was by his side, The Associated Press reports.

Records show the property was owned by Rachael Brown, who appears to be a business associate of Hsieh, according to the .

Brown had bought the modest-seeming house in August – the same time as Hsieh retired from Zappos – but it is not known if she was also staying at the house at the time of the blaze.

Firefighters were called to the New London, Connecticut property on November 18

Firefighters were called to the New London, Connecticut property on November 18

Firefighters were called to the New London, Connecticut property on November 18

Rescuers dragged one person from the house, believed to be Hsieh, who was taken to hospital

Rescuers dragged one person from the house, believed to be Hsieh, who was taken to hospital

Rescuers dragged one person from the house, believed to be Hsieh, who was taken to hospital

The New London, Connecticut house (pictured) went up in flames on November 18

The New London, Connecticut house (pictured) went up in flames on November 18

The New London, Connecticut house (pictured) went up in flames on November 18

Hsieh, who was born in Illinois and was the son of Taiwanese immigrants, studied at Harvard University before he joined Zappos – then called ShoeSite.com – in 1999. 

As CEO, he helped transform the fledgling internet start-up into a billion-dollar business. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009, but Hsieh remained with the company until his retirement earlier this year. 

While Hsieh became known for his business acumen, it was his philanthropy and his focus on fostering a positive workplace culture for which he is now being remembered.   

Hsieh, who had a passion for llamas and alpacas, had a pet alpaca named Marley and dog Blizzy. 

He lived in an Airstream trailer, part of a village of tiny homes in downtown Las Vegas that also was part of his vision and became known as Llamapolis. 

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos paid tribute to a brilliant mind. 

‘The world lost you way too soon,’ he wrote.

‘Your curiosity, โอเล่777 vision, and relentless focus on customers leave an indelible mark. You will be missed by so many, Tony. Rest In Peace.’ 

Ivanka Trump was also among those paying tribute to Hsieh, who she worked with through her fashion business.   

‘Celebrating the life while mourning the loss of my dear friend Tony Hsieh,’ she wrote. 

‘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.’ 

Ivanka Trump previously had a shoe line which was sold on Zappos.com.  

Ivanka Trump is leading tributes to Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of Zappos.com, who died Friday at the age of 46

Ivanka Trump is leading tributes to Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of Zappos.com, who died Friday at the age of 46

Ivanka Trump is leading tributes to Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of Zappos.com, who died Friday at the age of 46 

Hseih is pictured with Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, clowning around inside a Las Vegas casino

Hseih is pictured with Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, clowning around inside a Las Vegas casino

Hseih is pictured with Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, clowning around inside a Las Vegas casino 

The First Daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years

The First Daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years

The First Daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years

Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, died Friday at the age of 46 from injuries he sustained in a house fire in Connecticut

Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, died Friday at the age of 46 from injuries he sustained in a house fire in Connecticut

Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, died Friday at the age of 46 from injuries he sustained in a house fire in Connecticut

For years, Hsieh worked to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, pledging $350 million in 2013 for redevelopment. The same year he moved Zappos’ headquarters into the former Las Vegas City Hall building. 

‘Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas,’ Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted Friday night.

‘Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony´s family and friends during this difficult time.’

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center) are pictured in with Hsieh (left) in an old photograph taken years before they began working at The White House

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center) are pictured in with Hsieh (left) in an old photograph taken years before they began working at The White House

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center) are pictured in with Hsieh (left) in an old photograph taken years before they began working at The White House 

Hsieh is pictured with former President Bill Clinton back in 2014

Hsieh is pictured with former President Bill Clinton back in 2014

Hsieh is pictured with former President Bill Clinton back in 2014  

Hsieh is pictured in Las Vegas with Britney Spears in 2015, during her residency in Las Vegas. Hsieh was a prominent resident of the city, and helped to revitalize its downtown area

Hsieh is pictured in Las Vegas with Britney Spears in 2015, during her residency in Las Vegas. Hsieh was a prominent resident of the city, and helped to revitalize its downtown area

Hsieh is pictured in Las Vegas with Britney Spears in 2015, during her residency in Las Vegas. Hsieh was a prominent resident of the city, and helped to revitalize its downtown area 

A wave of other tributes have also poured in on social media. 

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang said on Saturday morning: ‘I am stunned. Tony Hsieh touched so many lives and inspired so many entrepreneurs. 

‘His impact and legacy will go on and on. I met his family in Las Vegas – and am thinking of them today. RIP Tony. You will be missed.’ 

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.’

Jimmy Kimmel and New York Times reporter Kara Swisher are also among the big names who have tweeted. 

Dozens of big names, including Andrew Yang, Jimmy Kimmel and Tony Hawk, also paid tribute to the late businessman

Dozens of big names, including Andrew Yang, Jimmy Kimmel and Tony Hawk, also paid tribute to the late businessman

Dozens of big names, including Andrew Yang, Jimmy Kimmel and Tony Hawk, also paid tribute to the late businessman 

In a 2009 profile in Briefings magazine, Hsieh said that he initially had little time for psychology and philosophy.

But his computer science background, he explained, led him to believe that happiness could be studied as a science, and he began investigating what made people happy.

‘Most of the frameworks for happiness conclude that there are four things required: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (meaning the depths of relationships) and being part of something bigger than yourself,’ he said. 

In 2010, Hsieh published the best-seller book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, in which he asserted that happy employees made for a more successful business. 

One quote from the book read: ‘Money alone isn’t enough to bring happiness . . . happiness is when you’re actually truly okay with losing everything you have.’

He insisted on a $36,000 annual salary, reported, and he sat in an unassuming cubicle among the other employees. 

When Zappos set up a new warehouse in Kentucky, the paper said, he packed a pickup truck with materials, drove to Kentucky and got to work bolting together shelves and unpacking shoes. 

Despite his immense wealth, Hsieh was known for living in an Airstream trailer in downtown Las Vegas.  

Back in 2014, he transformed a parking lot in the city into a ‘micro-living oasis’, made up of around 30 RVs. 

He also had two pet llamas which lived in the trailer park community with him.  As of 2020, he was still living in the tiny trailer, unmarried and with no children.

In 2012, he told the New York Times that he enjoyed ‘hanging out with different people’ rather than formally dating. 

‘I’m not opposed to the idea of marriage,’ he said. 

‘But statistically, if half of all marriages end in divorce, and of the ones that remain married many are unhappily married, the odds are stacked against you.’ 

Hsieh sold Zappos to Jeff Bezos and  Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009, but he continued to work as the online retailer's CEO for another decade

Hsieh sold Zappos to Jeff Bezos and  Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009, but he continued to work as the online retailer's CEO for another decade

Hsieh sold Zappos to Jeff Bezos and  Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009, but he continued to work as the online retailer’s CEO for another decade

Hsieh is pictured with Barbara Walters back in 2010. He became well-known for his views on fostering a positive workplace culture, and penned a book about how happy employees are better for business

Hsieh is pictured with Barbara Walters back in 2010. He became well-known for his views on fostering a positive workplace culture, and penned a book about how happy employees are better for business

Hsieh is pictured with Barbara Walters back in 2010. He became well-known for his views on fostering a positive workplace culture, and penned a book about how happy employees are better for business 

Despite his immense wealth, Hsieh was known for living in an Airstream trailer in downtown Las Vegas

Inside the tiny trailer Hsieh lived in, despite his $840 million fortune

Inside the tiny trailer Hsieh lived in, despite his $840 million fortune

Inside the tiny trailer Hsieh lived in, despite his $840 million fortune 

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Read more:

  • Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos who sold online shoe retailer to Amazon for $1.2B, dies at 46 – GeekWire
  • The Hartford Courant – We are currently unavailable in your region
  • Tony Hsieh, Longtime Chief of Zappos, Is Dead at 46 – The New York Times
  • TechCrunch is now a part of Verizon Media

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