Cell Phone Billionaire McCaw Dies
Keith McCaw, a billionaire whose family helped create a cellular-phone empire, was found dead in a hottub in his lakeside Seattle mansion. He was 49.
Reached in Auckland, New Zealand, family spokesman Bob Ratliffe told The Associated Press late Sunday that McCaw had died early that morning.
Police and firefighters received a 911 call of a possible drowning in the block where McCaw’s mansion sits near Lake Washington. Paramedics tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of death was not immediately known.
“There is no indication of foul play at this point. This is just a normal death investigation,” police spokesman Scott Moss said.
McCaw made his fortune as a stockholder in McCaw Cellular Communications, which AT&T bought in 1994 for $11.5 billion. Keith McCaw served in various management positions at his family’s company but was reportedly never a major player. He ended his role as an employee in 1986 but continued as a director until 1991.
Forbes magazine listed McCaw as the 445th-richest man in the world this year, tied with brothers Bruce and John. His brother, Craig McCaw, was listed as the world’s 168th richest person, worth $2.4 billion.
“He was a good man and a good friend,” said Ratliffe, who was in Auckland, New Zealand, working with Craig McCaw in his bid to win the America’s Cup Challenger Series with Seattle’s OneWorld.
Keith McCaw was the youngest of four brothers in a family known for their successful business deals. Their father, Elroy McCaw, made a fortune owning radio and television stations, but the family estate was declared bankrupt after he died of a stroke in 1969.