Charlie Munger, investing legend and right hand to Warren Buffett, dies at 99

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Charlie Munger, investing legend and right hand to Warren Buffett, dies at 99
CNBC
  • Charlie Munger died Tuesday at age 99.
  • The investing legend was a leader at Berkshire Hathaway for decades, serving as Warren Buffett's right hand.
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Charlie Munger, the investing legend who led Berkshire Hathaway as vice chairman alongside Warren Buffett, died Tuesday at age 99.

Berkshire Hathaway announced that Munger's family told the company that he died peacefully Tuesday morning at a California hospital.

"Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie's inspiration, wisdom and participation," Buffett said in a statement on the press release.

Munger amassed a net worth estimated at about $2.3 billion, served as Buffett's right-hand man for years at the conglomerate, and from 1984 to 2011 he was chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation.

Similar to Buffett, Munger built a reputation for a sharp wit and words of wisdom about business, investing, and life, all of which guided Berkshire to many decades of reliable success.

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"We recognized early on that very smart people do very dumb things, and we wanted to know why and who, so we could avoid them," Munger said at a 2007 company meeting.

In 2009, he echoed a similar sentiment in explaining how his view on business informed Berkshire's investment decisions. "Invest in a business any fool can run," he said, "because someday a fool will. If it won't stand a little mismanagement, it's not much of a business. We're not looking for mismanagement, even if we can withstand it."

Munger was a noted critic of hyped-up investing trends, including cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence. Speaking at the Zoomtopia event this year, the Berkshire executive reiterated his view that crypto was worthless and said the AI investing boom was likely overdone.

A frequent commentator on the stock market and investing trends, he shared as recently as this month that he liked Big Tech names including Apple and Alphabet. Investors who did not own those stocks, according to Munger, were at risk of being left behind.

"What everybody has learned is that everybody needs some significant participation in the 12 companies that do better than everybody else," Munger told the Acquired podcast. "You need two or three of them, at least."

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Munger was born in Omaha — he and Buffett shared a hometown — on January 1, 1924.

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