Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens dies at 91

Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens dies at 91
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T. Boone Pickens, the former oil executive and philanthropist, has died at the age of 91.

Spokesman Jay Rosser confirmed his death in a statement. Pickens died Wednesday of natural causes surrounded by friends and family, Rosser said.

Pickens, who was described as the "Oracle of Oil," ran Mesa Petroleum, one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in the country.

Known for his corporate raider strategies, Pickens overtook other oil companies and gained billions in wealth, The Associated Press reported.

Pickens later founded BP Capital Management, a hedge fund that zeroed in on energy and handled billions of dollars until Pickens shut it down in December 2017.

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“Pickens became one of the few businessmen in the 1980s recognizable to wide segments of America,” The New York Times wrote in January 2018. “Pickens was an early advocate for shareholder rights and insisting that executives be compensated with stock. That line of thinking informed a new generation of shareholder activists, and remains gospel on Wall Street.”

A Republican supporter, Pickens gave to George W. Bush in the Texas gubernatorial and presidential races.

In July 2008, the Texan launched a self-funded grassroots campaign aiming to decrease the country's dependence on oil from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Pickens also donated more than $500 million to his alma mater Oklahoma State University over his lifetime, according to his obituary.

“He was just an old country boy from Holdenville, Oklahoma, but he could think his way around any Noble Prize winner,” Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said in the obituary. “Boone was a legend, a change agent, a life force that rarely comes along.”

Pickens suffered a series of strokes and head injuries after falling in 2017. He is survived by five children, 11 grandchildren and "an increasing number" of great-grandchildren, Rosser said.

Updated: 4:13 p.m.