T. Boone Pickens has died of natural causes at the age of 91, news outlets confirm.
Born in Oklahoma, the billionaire founder of hedge fund of BP Capital Management is well known for his philanthropy, donating more than $1 billion over the years, much of which went to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, CNBC reported.
The author’s’ “Boone-isms” were well-loved by those around him and included such sage advice as, “A plan without action is not a plan. It’s a speech,” and “If you are going to run with the big dogs, you have to get out from under the porch.”
Here are five things you might not know about the “Oracle of Oil.”
1. First baby born via C-section in Holdenville, Oklahoma
Pickens was the first baby born through a Caesarean section at a hospital in Holdenville, Oklahoma, in 1928, according to USA Today. Because of complications, a doctor told Pickens’ father that either his wife or the baby would survive, but not both. Pickens’ father “would have none of it” and insisted the doctor perform the procedure, the newspaper reported.
2. Drafted then cut from Texas A&M basketball team
Pickens attended Texas A&M University on a $25 basketball scholarship, but he was cut from the team, according to The Oklahoman. He transferred to Oklahoma State University – and Pickens would go on to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to the school.
3. Almost ran for president
Perhaps emboldened by an appearance on the cover of Time magazine, Pickens considered a run for president in 1988 but decided against it, according to Nasdaq.com.
4. Backed the “Swift Boat” ads
However, that didn’t mean Pickens stayed out of politics. He donated millions to campaigns – including during the 2004 presidential election between John Kerry and George W. Bush, according to Politico. Pickens helped fund so-called “Swift Boat” ads that disparaged Kerry’s military record in Vietnam and later offered $1 million to whomever could disprove the claims, Politico reported.
5. Strongly opposed horse slaughter
Pickens was a major opponent of slaughtering horses, joining Willie Nelson and other celebrities to oppose the practice in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Pickens and his former wife Madeleine, who had a career in racing and breeding, were both awarded for their work in horse preservation, according to the website Blood Horse.