Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, nicknamed the “Warren Buffett of India”, died on Sunday at the age of 62, one of his companies confirmed.
A chartered accountant at the age of 25, Jhunjhunwala founded an asset management company. Rare companiesIt invested in companies in sectors such as telecommunications, hospitality and financial services.
Jhunjhunwala had a net worth of $5.8 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, which called him an “investor with the Midas touch.” His latest venture, low-cost airline Agasa Air, began operations in India last week.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala this morning,” Agasa Air said in a statement on Sunday, praising the businessman’s “indomitable spirit” and passion for “everything Indian”.
The cause of death was not immediately released. Jhunjhunwala’s family member said Reuters That investor “He passed away surrounded by his family and close associates.”. He is survived by wife Rekha Jhunjhunwala and three children.
Local media reported that Jhunjhunwala was unwell and appeared in a wheelchair at the Agasa Air launch event last Sunday.
Indian politicians and business leaders mourned Jhunjhunwala’s death. Many appreciated his efforts to educate people about stock trading and his belief in India and its economy.
“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is irrepressible,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. “Vibrant, humorous and insightful, he leaves an indelible contribution to the world of finance. He was also passionate about India’s progress.
“Investor, fearless risk taker, great understanding of stock market, clear in communication, a leader in his own right,” Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wrote on Twitter.
In a 2021 interview with the Economic Times of India, Jhunjhunwala expressed confidence in India’s ability to overtake China, the world’s second-largest economy. “You can call me dumb, you can call me whatever you want, I may not live to see it, but I can tell you one thing: India will overtake China in the next 25 years,” he said.
Jhunjhunwala “believed that Indian stocks were undervalued. You’re right,” wrote billionaire banker Uday Kotak from India, who described him as having gone to school with Jhunjhunwala and being “incredibly interested in understanding financial markets.”
Jhunjhunwala was born in July 1960 and grew up in Mumbai. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Mumbai and later graduated from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
His father was the Commissioner of the Income Tax Department of the Government of India and advised Jhunjhunwala on investments, Financial Express reported. According to Forbes, Jhunjhunwala invested just $100 in the stock market as a 25-year-old student and eventually turned it into a multi-million dollar portfolio.
He is also a fan of Indian films and has co-produced three Bollywood films between 2012 and 2016.
Indian markets commentator Ajay Bhaga told the BBC that Jhunjhunwala “personified the history of India”: “A middle-class young man rising through the ranks to build such a huge fortune.”
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