NEW DELHI (AP) — Veteran stock market investor and Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, nicknamed India’s own Warren Buffett, died Sunday in Mumbai city, Press Trust of India news agency reported. He was 62.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes for the business magnate, who had an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion, according to Forbes.
“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was indomitable. Full of life, witty and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world,” Modi tweeted, and also expressed his condolences to Jhunjhunwala’s family.
His cause of death has not yet been released, although he was said to be suffering from various health issues, local media reported.
Jhunjhunwala, a chartered accountant from the northern state of Rajasthan, began investing in the stock market while he was still in college, starting off with capital of just 5,000 rupees ($63). He went on to establish and manage RARE Enterprises, an asset management firm. As his net worth steadily rose, he became one of India’s richest men with investments in some of the country’s biggest companies.
In his latest venture, he helped launched the low-cost Akasa Air, which took its first flight last week. Jhunjhunwala was seen at the launch in a wheelchair, local media reported.
The airline said it was “deeply saddened” by the news of his death. “We at Akasa cannot thank Mr. Jhunjhunwala enough for being an early believer in us and putting his trust and faith in us to build a world-class airline,” it said in a statement.
Also called the “Big Bull” of the country's Bombay Stock Exchange, Jhunjhunwala was known for taking risks in the market and in his investments.
“Investor, bold risk-taker, masterly understanding of the stock market,” tweeted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, calling him a “leader in his own right” who strongly believed in India’s strength and growth.
In an interview last week with news channel CNBC-TV18, Jhunjhunwala said despite the unfavorable economic conditions across the world, “the Indian market will grow, but at a slower pace.”
He is survived by his wife and three children.
This story corrects the spelling of Warren Buffett's last name to Buffett, not Buffet.
The Associated Press