Ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh pulled from blazing waterfront Connecticut home but succumbed to his burns

The multimillionaire former CEO of online shoe store Zappos died on Friday at the age of 46, following a house fire nine days previously in Connecticut.

Tony Hsieh, 46, died on Friday after a nine-day battle to overcome injuries from a house fire

Tony Hsieh, 46, died on Friday after a nine-day battle to overcome injuries from a house fire

Tony Hsieh, 46, died on Friday after a nine-day battle to overcome injuries from a house fire

Tony Hsieh, who lived in Las Vegas, was in Connecticut with his family.    

Megan Fazio, who worked with Hsieh in Las Vegas, said he was staying with his brothers Andy and Dave at the home in New London when a fire broke out in the early hours of November 18.

Property records show that the house was bought by a business associate of Hsieh’s in August – the same time as Hsieh retired from Zappos.  

Curcio said that the alarm was raised at around 3:30am on November 18, and they were told a fire had trapped someone in the home. 

All of New London’s fire vehicles responded to the scene, Curcio said.

Firefighters forced their way in to the house, removed the victim and started CPR, Chief Curcio said.  

The victim was taken to Lawrence + Memorial hospital in New London, and later transferred to Bridgeport Hospital in a Lifestar helicopter. 

When Hsieh died on Friday, his family was by his side, according to The Associated Press.   

Hsieh, who was born in Illinois and was the son of Taiwanese immigrants, studied at Harvard University before he joined Zappos – then called ShoeSite.com – in 1999. 

As CEO, he helped transform the fledgling internet start-up into a billion-dollar business. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009, but Hsieh remained with the company until his retirement earlier this year. 

While Hsieh became known for his business acumen, it was his philanthropy and his focus on fostering a positive workplace culture for which he is now being remembered.   

Firefighters were called to the New London, Connecticut property on November 18

Firefighters were called to the New London, Connecticut property on November 18

Firefighters were called to the New London, Connecticut property on November 18

Rescuers dragged one person from the house, believed to be Hsieh, who was taken to hospital

Rescuers dragged one person from the house, believed to be Hsieh, who was taken to hospital

Rescuers dragged one person from the house, believed to be Hsieh, who was taken to hospital

The New London, Connecticut house (pictured) went up in flames on November 18

The New London, Connecticut house (pictured) went up in flames on November 18

The New London, Connecticut house (pictured) went up in flames on November 18

Ivanka Trump was among those paying tribute to Hsieh, who she worked with through her fashion business.  

The first daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter on Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years. 

‘Celebrating the life while mourning the loss of my dear friend Tony Hsieh,’ she wrote. 

‘Tony was a deeply original thinker always challenging me to reject conformity & follow my heart. Tony was driven by the mission of delivering happiness & brought joy to all who knew him.’ 

Ivanka Trump previously had a shoe line which was sold on Zappos.com.  

Ivanka Trump is leading tributes to Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of Zappos.com, who died Friday at the age of 46

Ivanka Trump is leading tributes to Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of Zappos.com, who died Friday at the age of 46

Ivanka Trump is leading tributes to Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of Zappos.com, who died Friday at the age of 46 

Hseih is pictured with Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, clowning around inside a Las Vegas casino

Hseih is pictured with Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, clowning around inside a Las Vegas casino

Hseih is pictured with Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, clowning around inside a Las Vegas casino 

The First Daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years

The First Daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years

The First Daughter was a longtime friend of Hsieh, and took to Twitter Saturday to share a series of photos taken with him from over the years

Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, died Friday at the age of 46 from injuries he sustained in a house fire in Connecticut

Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, died Friday at the age of 46 from injuries he sustained in a house fire in Connecticut

Tony Hsieh, the high-profile former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos.com, died Friday at the age of 46 from injuries he sustained in a house fire in Connecticut

For years, Hsieh worked to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, pledging $350 million in 2013 for redevelopment. The same year he moved Zappos’ headquarters into the former Las Vegas City Hall building. 

‘Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas,’ Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted Friday night.

‘Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony´s family and friends during this difficult time.’

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center) are pictured in with Hsieh (left) in an old photograph taken years before they began working at The White House

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center) are pictured in with Hsieh (left) in an old photograph taken years before they began working at The White House

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center) are pictured in with Hsieh (left) in an old photograph taken years before they began working at The White House 

Hsieh is pictured with former President Bill Clinton back in 2014

Hsieh is pictured with former President Bill Clinton back in 2014

Hsieh is pictured with former President Bill Clinton back in 2014  

Hsieh is pictured in Las Vegas with Britney Spears in 2015, during her residency in Las Vegas. Hsieh was a prominent resident of the city, and helped to revitalize its downtown area

Hsieh is pictured in Las Vegas with Britney Spears in 2015, during her residency in Las Vegas. Hsieh was a prominent resident of the city, and helped to revitalize its downtown area

Hsieh is pictured in Las Vegas with Britney Spears in 2015, during her residency in Las Vegas. Hsieh was a prominent resident of the city, and helped to revitalize its downtown area 

A wave of other tributes have also poured in on social media. 

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang said on Saturday morning: ‘I am stunned. Tony Hsieh touched so many lives and inspired so many entrepreneurs. 

‘His impact and legacy will go on and on. I met his family in Las Vegas – and am thinking of them today. RIP Tony. You will be missed.’ 

Skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk added: ‘Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone.’

Jimmy Kimmel and New York Times reporter Kara Swisher are also among the big names who have tweeted. 

Dozens of big names, including Andrew Yang, Jimmy Kimmel and Tony Hawk, also paid tribute to the late businessman

Dozens of big names, including Andrew Yang, Jimmy Kimmel and Tony Hawk, also paid tribute to the late businessman

Dozens of big names, including Andrew Yang, Jimmy Kimmel and Tony Hawk, also paid tribute to the late businessman 

Back in 2010, Hsieh published the best-seller book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, in which he asserted that happy employees made for a more successful business.  

One quote from the book read: ‘Money alone isn’t enough to bring happiness . . . happiness is when you’re actually truly okay with losing everything you have.’

Despite his immense wealth, Hsieh was known for living in an Airstream trailer in downtown Las Vegas.  

Back in 2014, he transformed a parking lot in the city into a ‘micro-living oasis’, made up of around 30 RVs. 

He also had two pet llamas which lived in the trailer park community with him. 

As of 2020, he was still living in the tiny trailer. 

He was not married and had no children.  

Hsieh sold Zappos to Jeff Bezos and  Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009, but he continued to work as the online retailer's CEO for another decade. Bezos (pictured) has not commented publicly about Hsieh's death

Hsieh sold Zappos to Jeff Bezos and  Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009, but he continued to work as the online retailer's CEO for another decade. Bezos (pictured) has not commented publicly about Hsieh's death

Hsieh sold Zappos to Jeff Bezos and  Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009, but he continued to work as the online retailer’s CEO for another decade. Bezos (pictured) has not commented publicly about Hsieh’s death

Hsieh is pictured with Barbara Walters back in 2010. He became well-known for his views on fostering a positive workplace culture, and penned a book about how happy employees are better for business

Hsieh is pictured with Barbara Walters back in 2010. He became well-known for his views on fostering a positive workplace culture, and penned a book about how happy employees are better for business

Hsieh is pictured with Barbara Walters back in 2010. He became well-known for his views on fostering a positive workplace culture, and penned a book about how happy employees are better for business 

Despite his immense wealth, Hsieh was known for living in an Airstream trailer in downtown Las Vegas

Inside the tiny trailer Hsieh lived in, despite his $840 million fortune

Inside the tiny trailer Hsieh lived in, despite his $840 million fortune

Inside the tiny trailer Hsieh lived in, despite his $840 million fortune 

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