Iconic oilman, philanthropist T. Boone Pickens dies at 91

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STILLWATER, Okla. - T. Boone Pickens, the iconic oil and natural gas investor, has died at the age of 91.

According to a post on his website, spokesman Jay Rosser said Pickens died of natural causes surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

T.Boone Pickens was born in Holdenville in 1928 and became well known as an oilman.

In 2018, Pickens announced that he was shutting the commodity and energy stock hedge funds he ran as chairman BP Capital Fund Advisors.

“It’s no secret the past year has not been good to me, from a health perspective or a financial one,” he wrote in a letter he posted on LinkedIn. “Health-wise, I’m still recovering from a series of strokes I suffered late last year, and a major fall over the summer. If you are lucky enough to make it to 89 years of age like I have, those things tend to put life in perspective. It’s time to start making new plans and setting new priorities.”

At the time, Pickens said it was time to get his affairs in order and devote his full attention to recovering his health.

Founder & Chairman, BP Capital Management T. Boone Pickens speaks at the 2016 Concordia Summit - Day 1 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

While making millions during his time with the oil industry, Pickens also became a philanthropist. During his life, he is known for donating over $1 billion, much of which benefitted his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.

Last month, Pickens published his annual letter to the OSU fan base, but made hints that he was preparing for the end of his life.


"At 91, I'm grateful for every added day, week, month and year. 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," he wrote.

Pickens is survived by his five children and 11 grandchildren.

Plans for memorial services in Dallas and Stillwater are pending.

Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University, released the following statement on Wednesday:

"All of us in the Oklahoma State University family are deeply saddened by the passing of Boone Pickens. At the same time, we join in celebrating his incredible life. He was the ultimate Cowboy.

It is impossible to calculate his full impact on Oklahoma State. His historic gifts to academics and athletics not only transformed the university, they inspired thousands of others to join in the transformation.

OSU will not be the same without the legendary Boone Pickens, but his mark on our university will last forever."

Tucker Link, Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents Chairman, also released a statement saying:

“On behalf of the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, we remember today the remarkable life of our alumnus Boone Pickens. His eternal optimism, kindness and competitiveness inspired us always to reach higher. He never forgot his roots and his love for Oklahoma State University was incalculable. We will be forever thankful to Boone Pickens for his big ideas, bold vision and unshakable spirit. There is no question that Boone Pickens put the ‘Bright’ in America’s Brightest Orange.”

Sen. James Lankford issued the following statement:

“Today the world said goodbye to T. Boone Pickens with gratitude for an incredible legacy that will continue to live on after his passing. His vision and entrepreneurship forever changed the energy industry, making it a driver of our nation’s economic engine and kick-starting American energy independence. Those who were recipients of the billions of dollars he gave through philanthropic efforts will be forever changed by his generosity. At the next home game, we will wear orange in the stadium that bears his name, and we’ll remember the favor of Oklahoma State University’s biggest fan. Cindy and I pray for his children and family as they grieve his passing. We are forever grateful for the lessons he provided our nation and Oklahoma during his lifetime.”

Rick Perry, the U.S. Secretary of Energy and former governor of Texas, released a heartfelt statement about the loss:

"T. Boone Pickens was a Texas-sized legend who left a permanent impact on the world of American energy as we know it. He was a bold visionary who long championed a diverse energy mix from renewable power to oil and gas, and understood that American energy security is critical to our national security. Most of all, he was a wonderful and philanthropic person who gave generously to causes he believed in. Countless lives have been changed because of him, including mine, and I am lucky to have called him a friend. Anita and I send our deepest condolences to his loved ones who have experienced a great loss today." 

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released the following statement:

“T. Boone Pickens, a legendary Oklahoman, embodied the American dream and what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication. Although he was known as an incredibly successful, self-made businessman and entrepreneur, one of the most impressive things I witnessed in my years of knowing him was his profound sense of generosity. Boone’s seemingly limitless charity over the years to different philanthropic endeavors will have a lasting impact on our state, and serve as an inspiration to future generations.

“While we mourn his passing today, let us always remember his gregarious personality, intellect and indelible impression he left on Oklahoma. My wife Cheryl and I offer our deepest condolences to the entire Pickens family."

Rep. Frank Lucas released the following statement:

“America’s brightest orange is slightly dimmer today.

“As one of our nation’s most revered entrepreneurs and philanthropists, T. Boone Pickens dedicated his life to giving back to the thing that had the greatest impact on him- his community. The son of a landman and public servant, Boone became a pioneer giant in the energy industry and a generous philanthropist who never forgot his roots.

“The State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University will not be the same without the legendary pioneer, but his vision will live on in the hearts of many. As a Cowboy, T. Boone Pickens’ philanthropy transformed the University he so loved and inspired thousands of students to pursue their dreams. 

“Lynda and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Pickens family as they mourn the loss of a father, grandfather, and great Oklahoman.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt released the following statement:

“Oklahoma has lost a legend with the passing of Mr. T. Boone Pickens,” said Gov. Stitt. “T. Boone Pickens’ love and pride for Oklahoma overflowed through his contribution to job creation and economic growth and his generous philanthropy to Oklahoma’s finest institutions. I considered him a friend and mentor, and his strong legacy will long be remembered and celebrated by Oklahomans.”

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