Charlie Munger, long regarded as CEO Warren Buffett’s right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, died Tuesday at age 99. 

Munger died in a California hospital, Berkshire Hathaway said in a statement posted on its website. “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said in the statement.

Munger, who was Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chairman, is credited with helping Buffett build the company into a legendary financial firm known for its canny investments in companies such as Apple and GEICO, leading to spectacular stock gains over the past several decades. 

Indeed, Buffett’s 2022 annual letter to shareholders calculated that Berkshire Hathaway’s shares had gained more than 3,787,000% from 1965 through 2022, compared with a 24,700% gain in the S&P 500 over the same period. 

Munger served as a sounding board on investments and business decisions for Buffett, with whom he shared much in common. Both were Nebraska natives who worked at the grocery store run by Buffett’s grandfather and uncle. Both also attended the same high school, although they didn’t meet while they were children given that Buffett, 93, is several years younger than Munger. 

Charlie Munger, who died Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, at age 99, helped Warren Buffett build Berkshire Hathaway into a legendary financial firm known for its enormous investment returns. 

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The pair met in 1959 at an Omaha dinner party when Munger was practicing law in Southern California and Buffett was running an investment partnership in Omaha. They hit it off at that initial meeting and then kept in touch through frequent telephone calls and lengthy letters, according to the biography in Munger’s book “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.”

After trading investment ideas, and even buying into the same companies during the 1960s and 1970s, Munger eventually joined Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, becoming its vice chairman in 1978. 

Next to the congenial Buffett, Munger offered curmudgeonly quips at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings, where he was known for repeating “I have nothing to add” after many of Buffett’s expansive answers. But Munger also often offered sharp answers that cut straight to the heart of an issue, such as the advice he offered in 2012 on spotting a good investment.

“If it’s got a really high commission on it, don’t bother looking at it,” he said.

At the time of his death, Munger was also serving on the boards of directors at Costco, Daily Journal Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway, according to the financial data firm FactSet.

—With reporting by the Associated Press.