Charlie Munger, vice president of Berkshire Hathaway, in Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2019. (Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
(CNN) –– Billionaire investor Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's longtime friend and right-hand man, has died at the age of 99.
Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm where Munger served as vice chairman, said in a press release that he died "peacefully" Tuesday morning at a California hospital. No cause of death was provided.
Charles Thomas Munger, known by his nickname "Charlie," was born on January 1, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska. Munger served in the U.S. Army during World War II, after leaving the University of Michigan in 1943 at age 19. After the war, Munger attended Harvard Law School and graduated with honors in 1948. He then moved to Southern California, where he practiced law in real estate.
Wall Street mourned Munger's death and highlighted his surprising career at Berkshire Hathaway.
"Berkshire Hathaway could not have reached its current state without Charlie's inspiration, wisdom, and involvement," Warren Buffett's CEO said in the statement.
"For so many decades, the two led an investment powerhouse that significantly improved the lives of many people... and, in the process, they repeatedly demonstrated collaborative prowess, synergies, and common sense. Rest in peace, Charlie," Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, said in a post on X.
"Its impact went far beyond the investment world. People figured it out thinking they'd learn ways to make money, but they got so much more," Whitney Tilson, an investor and expert on both Buffett and Munger, told CNN.
Munger, who was worth $2.700 billion, according to Forbes, was commenting on global markets just a few weeks ago. For example, he told the Acquired podcast that Buffett's decision to invest billions of dollars in Japan was "a no-brainer."
"It was tremendously easy money," Munger said, with his characteristic conciseness. "It was like God opened a chest and poured money into it."
Warren Buffett's right-hand man
Munger met Buffett in 1959 over dinner when Munger was in Omaha for his father's funeral. Munger and Buffett quickly struck up a friendship.
Buffett told CNBC in 2021 that, after their first meeting, he knew he wasn't going to "find another guy like this.... We just get along."
Munger officially joined Berkshire Hathaway as a vice chairman in 1978, and for most of his career was best known as Buffett's prankster lieutenant, prone to giving direct advice on the stock market and the economy.
He was known for his concise commentary that delighted devoted Berkshire fans. "If people didn't get it wrong so often, we wouldn't be as rich," Munger said during Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting in 2015.
But toward the end of his life, Munger was often in the headlines due to controversies. He frequently praised China's communist government, which Western governments have criticized for human rights violations. He praised the country despite its crackdown on Chinese tech giant Alibaba, which was one of Munger's top investments in the Daily Journal, a Los Angeles-based newspaper publisher and investment firm that Munger ran from 1977 to 2022.
CNN has reached out to Berkshire Hathaway for comment.
CNN's Nicole Goodkind contributed to this report.