Sam Zell passed away yesterday at 81. He was one of the most famous real estate investors and worked in the industry until the end as chairman of Equity Group Investments. He was known as “the grave dancer” for his ability to profit off of distressed assets. In 2007 the Blackstone Group bought Zell’s firm Equity Office Properties Trust for nearly $39 billion.
There has been an outpouring of praise for him online, with people talking about interactions they had with him or how his book, Am I Being Too Subtle? helped shape their real estate career. Zell was one of the industries most colorful, insightful figures and a mentor to some of today’s most successful professionals. His voice, foul language and all, will be missed by both those that knew him personally, heard him speak, or read his writings.