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Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh dies at 46

The author of “Delivering Happiness” sold the online shoe company to Amazon for $1.2 billion

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Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos has died, the company confirmed Saturday. Hsieh retired from the Las Vegas-based company in August, after 20 years at the helm. Under his leadership, Zappos became known for its customer service and employee-focused company culture. Hsieh wrote a best-selling autobiography titled “Delivering Happiness” that detailed his philosophy.

Amazon acquired Zappos for $1.2 billion in 2009, and kept Hsieh on as CEO. He said in 2010 he had decided to sell to the e-commerce giant because Amazon recognized “the uniqueness of Zappos’s culture and Amazon’s duty to protect it. We think of Amazon as a giant consulting company that we can hire if we want—for instance, if we need help redesigning our warehouse systems.”

According to CNN, Hsieh, 46, died from injuries he suffered at a house fire in Connecticut where he was visiting family.

“Tony’s kindness and generosity touched the lives of everyone around him, as his mantra was of ‘Delivering Happiness’ to others,” Zappos CEO Kedar Deshpande wrote in a blog post. “His spirit will forever be a part of Zappos, and we will continue to honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he was so passionate about.”