Oil tycoon and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens died at the age of 91, according to a report from KOCO 5. Known as the “Oracle of Oil,” the businessman and hedge fund founder also raided corporations. In his later years, Pickens pursued clean energy sources like wind power and natural gas and created the Pickens Plan to promote America’s energy independence, CNBC reported.
The BP Capital founder had suffered from poor health for the past couple of years. In 2017, he suffered a severe fall as well as several strokes, which led to Pickens selling his Mesa Vista Ranch in Texas.
An Oklahoma native, Pickens grew up in the small town of Holdenville and was born on May 22, 1928. He started his secondary education at Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship. He later transferred to Oklahoma A&M, now known as Oklahoma State University (OSU), and lost the scholarship. He graduated in 1951 with a degree in geology and began his career at Phillips Petroleum. Over the years, Pickens donated more than $1 billion, with much of that money going to OSU to help with both athletic and academic programs. Oklahoma State’s renovated football stadium is named after him, and Pickens was considered the OSU Cowboy’s number one superfan. Unfortunately, his poor health kept Pickens from attending last week’s home opener at OSU. The Cowboys defeated Oregon State 52-36.
In addition to his $652 million in donations to OSU, Pickens also donated millions to the Republican Party and backed George W. Bush’s campaigns for both governor of Texas and later president of the United States. He helped fund the infamous “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” group during the 2004 presidential campaign when Bush ran against John Kerry. In 1985, Pickens also landed the cover of Time magazine.
Sitting at my desk shedding a few tears as I pen my annual thoughts for the #okstate fan base. Releasing it at 10am CT tmrw. Spoiler alert: When you hit your 90s, two things happen. 1) Your memory isn’t as good as it once was. 2) The memories you do have you tend to cherish more. pic.twitter.com/6ugKmLaXK7
— T. Boone Pickens (@boonepickens) August 28, 2019
The hedge fund founder began his working career early. At the age of 12, he ran a paper route with 28 customers. Over time, he slowly acquired adjacent routes, which allowed Pickens to quadruple his business as his quest for corporate domination began.
In late August, Pickens penned his annual letter to the Cowboy fan base, and he felt his time remaining was short.
“At 91, I’m grateful for every added day, week, month and year,” he wrote mere weeks ago. “However, I’m realistic about being close to the finish line. And I’m working diligently to complete projects as quickly as I can and tie up any loose ends.”
Less than two weeks after writing those words, Pickens passed away. He recently moved his childhood home to Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, it looks like he never got the chance to see that project completed.
“I have a lot of work left to do and not a lot of time to get it done. That’s not a morbid notion, it’s reality. And accepting reality at my age invariably leads to reflection.”
In 2014, Pickens married Toni Brinker. Before that marriage, he’d married and divorced four times. He and Brinker divorced in 2017. He had four biological children and one adopted child.