How did Charlie Munger die? The legendary Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman and Warren Buffett’s long-time business partner died peacefully on November 28th, 2023 at the age of 99. He passed away in a California hospital surrounded by loved ones in his final hours.
The news of Munger’s death sent shockwaves through the business and investing worlds. He was a towering yet humble figure – the right-hand man to Warren Buffett who helped build Berkshire Hathaway into one of the most successful companies in the world.
Though details around the exact cause of death have not been publicly released, it appears it was from natural causes related to his very advanced age.
Charlie Munger’s Extraordinary Life And Career
Charlie Munger was born on January 1st, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska. From relatively modest Midwestern beginnings, he became one of the most successful and influential investors and businessmen in modern history.
His storied career took him from practicing real estate law to managing investments and hedge funds, to the fateful partnership with Buffett that lasted over 6 decades. Munger brought academic rigor, discipline and a steadfast belief in investing in high-quality companies for the long run.
In addition to his investing prowess, Munger had an array of interests – he was an architect, philanthropist and publisher. Right up until the end, he maintained an incredibly sharp wit and sense of humor about life and business that inspired many who learned from him.
“We want to get through the typhoon, and we’d rather come out of it with a whole lot of liquidity. We’re not playing, ‘Oh goody, goody, everything’s going to hell, let’s plunge 100% of the reserves ” – Charlie Munger on 2020 market crash
When reflecting on what enabled Berkshire Hathaway’s absolutely staggering investment performance over decades, Warren Buffett made it clear Munger deserved immense credit:
“Charlie has given me the ultimate gift that a person can give to somebody else. He’s made me a better person than I would have otherwise been. … I’ve lived a better life because of Charlie.”
Reacting To The Loss Of An Irreplaceable Partner
Upon learning of Munger’s passing, Buffett paid tribute to his cherished business partner and the central role he played in building Berkshire:
“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation”
Meanwhile, the Munger family requested privacy as they handle affairs in accordance with Charlie’s final instructions. At the venerable age of 99, it appears he made all the necessary preparations for this sad yet inevitable event.
The loss of such an instrumental leader at Berkshire Hathaway raises natural questions about the company’s future direction and leadership.
Berkshire has already confirmed that Greg Abel, who currently oversees all non-insurance operations, will eventually take over the CEO role when the elder Buffett departs.
While Munger can never truly be replaced, he will also continue influencing the company’s culture and investing approach thanks to decades of mentorship under Buffett.
Lasting Investing Wisdom And Principles
During Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meetings, the interplay and lighthearted banter between Munger and Buffett became the stuff of legend. These were always about much more than just discussing company performance or stock price.
The timeless wisdom, wit and insights Munger shared right up until the end provide a lasting legacy that extends far beyond just his own investing success.
Some classic Munger principles:
- “All intelligent investing is value investing — acquiring more than you are paying for.”
- “Staying cheerful in spite of troubles” and not letting resentment or envy cloud thinking and judgment
- Having a “moral duty to be reasonable” that overrides personal wealth or ego
Perhaps most iconic was his advocacy to “fish where the fish are”:
“We’ve gotten good at fishing where the fish are.”
This underlies the whole Berkshire Hathaway approach of identifying industries and companies with strong fundamentals, enduring competitive advantages and the ability to generate consistent profits over very long time frames.
Final Days Surrounded By Family
Charlie Munger was able to reach almost a full century of years before his lifelong love affair with investing, business and ideas came to a close.
While further specifics around his final days and exact cause of death remain unknown publicly, it is abundantly clear he lived life and played the long game on his own terms.
And even as his earthly presence faded, Munger remained surrounded by things most meaningful – books, big ideas and the family members who loved him dearly to the end.
The greatest compliment may be that in a world obsessed by the rapid pace of change, the name Charlie Munger will be remembered and revered for generations to come. His investment principles, one-liners and sheer zeal for life will live on long after his passing.
Charlie Munger’s legacy is hard to capture fully, between the overarching impact on investing philosophies and Berkshire Hathaway itself to the sheer breath and diversity of a near century-long life filled with wisdom.
While the world has lost an icon and investing has lost a wizard, we can take solace that Charlie Munger squeezed out every last drop that this world had to offer. And generations to come will continue benefiting from the wit, brilliance and values he embodied.
Though clearly irreplaceable, Munger departs knowing the empire he helped build and invest in – one brick, one honest and capable leader at a time – will stand the test of time. Berkshire Hathaway’s future path forward confirms his most deeply held belief of all has indeed been achieved:
Charlie Munger will keep the culture.