Charlie Munger, friend and business partner of Warren Buffett, dies

New York CNN –

Billionaire investor Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s longtime friend and business partner, has died. He was 99 years old.

Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm where Munger served as vice chairman, said in a news release that Munger died “peacefully” in a California hospital Tuesday morning. A cause of death was not given.

Charles Thomas Munger, known by his nickname “Charlie,” was born on January 1, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska. Munger served in the U.S. Army during World War II after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1943 at the age of 19. After the war, Munger attended Harvard Law School, graduating with honors in 1948, and moved to Southern California, where he practiced real estate law.

Wall Street mourned Munger’s death and his astonishing success at Berkshire Hathaway.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its current status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and involvement,” CEO Warren Buffett said in the press release.

“For many decades, the two of them led an investment firm that significantly improved the lives of so many people… time and time again demonstrating the power of collaboration, synergy and common sense. “Calm down, Charlie,” Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz’s chief economic adviser, said in a post on X.

“His impact went far beyond the investment world. People discovered him and thought they were learning how to make money, but they got so much more,” Whitney Tilson, investor and Buffett and Munger expert, told CNN. “He said: If all you have is a hammer, the world looks like a nail.”

Munger, who was worth $2.7 billion according to Forbes, commented on global markets just a few weeks ago. For example, he told the Acquired podcast that Buffett’s decision to invest billions of dollars in Japan was “a given.”

“It was terribly easy money,” Munger said with his characteristic succinctness. “It was as if God just opened a chest and poured money into it.”

Buffett’s right hand man

Munger met Buffett at a dinner in 1959 when Munger was in Omaha for his father’s funeral. Munger and Buffett quickly became friends.

Buffett told CNBC in 2021 that after their first meeting, he knew, “I won’t find another man like this….”We just hit it off.”

01:09 – Source: CNN

Munger “in love with the Xerox machine”

Munger officially joined Berkshire Hathaway as vice chairman in 1978 and for most of his career there was best known as a wise lieutenant to Buffett, prone to giving blunt advice about the stock market and the economy.

He was known for his pithy sayings that delighted staunch Berkshire fans. “If people didn’t get it wrong so often, we wouldn’t be so rich,” Munger said during a Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in 2015.

But towards the end of his life, Munger often found himself in the headlines due to controversies. Munger often praised China’s communist government, which was criticized by Western governments for human rights abuses. He praised the country despite its crackdown on Chinese tech giant Alibaba, which was a top investment of Munger’s at the Daily Journal, a Los Angeles-based newspaper publisher and investment firm that Munger ran from 1977 to 2022.

CNN has reached out to Berkshire Hathaway for comment.

—CNN’s Nicole Goodkind contributed to this report.