T. Boone Pickens, the onetime Texas oil wildcatter turned corporate raider who became a billionaire energy investor and television pitchman for wind and natural-gas power, has died. He was 91.

He died Wednesday at his home of natural causes, according to the Dallas Morning News. His primary residence was in Dallas. Pickens posted a message on his LinkedIn page announcing he had “several strokes” late in 2016 and then had a “Texas-sized fall” requiring hospital treatment. He said he was still mentally strong but in declining health, adding, “I clearly am in the fourth quarter.”

In late 2017 he put his 65,000 acre (26,305 hectares) Mesa Vista Ranch in the Texas Panhandle up for sale, with an asking price of $250 million. Soon afterward Pickens closed his hedge fund, writing on his website that he wanted to invest instead in “personal passions like promoting unbridled entrepreneurship and philanthropic and political endeavors.”

New Approach
Though he achieved much of his fame for takeover bids in the 1970s and 1980s, Pickens earned much of his wealth in the energy futures market after turning 75 in 2003, making billions through his Dallas-based BP Capital LLC by correctly betting on rising prices for oil and natural gas.

Forbes magazine estimated that Pickens’s net worth doubled in 2005, to $1.5 billion, and doubled again to $3 billion in 2007. The magazine’s last estimate of his wealth -- $950 million, in 2013 -- reflected losses from the 2008 financial crisis, the hundreds of millions Pickens spent on philanthropy (including about $500 million to Oklahoma State University, his alma mater) and his investments in wind energy, part of his plan to end U.S. dependence on Middle East oil.

“Don’t worry. At $950 million, I’m doing fine,” he posted on Twitter when Forbes published its last estimate.

From his base in Texas, Pickens and his Mesa Petroleum Co., one of the largest independent U.S. producers of oil and gas, made a splash on Wall Street in the 1980s with its attempted corporate takeovers, assisted by figures such as mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer Joseph Flom and banker Alan “Ace” Greenberg at Bear Stearns Cos.

‘Pirate’ Tycoon
It was, Pickens explained, “cheaper to look for oil on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange than in the ground.” His tactics earned him millions, even when he failed to gain control of the companies he chased.

A Time magazine cover story in March 1985 said Pickens “has swept up like a twister out of Amarillo, Texas, to become one of the most famous and controversial businessmen in the U.S. today.” Some oil company executives urged Congress to stop him. “He’s nothing but a pirate,” G.C. Richardson, a retired executive of Cities Service Co., one of Pickens’s targets, told Time.

Pickens made clear he had no aspirations for acceptance in the world of chief executives he derided as the “Good Ol’ Boys.”

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