West Australian billionaire Len Buckeridge died from a suspected heart attack at his Perth home yesterday morning.
The 77-year-old founder of the Buckeridge Group of Companies was worth $2.1 billion according to BRW.
BGC employs more than 5000 people and has built a number of Perth’s major buildings, the most recent being the Perth Arena.
Buckeridge initially trained as an architect and started building low-cost housing 50 years ago.
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He diversified into manufacturing, industrial and commercial construction.
Buckeridge had been in poor health for some time but continued to battle the state government in a billion-dollar lawsuit over a private port development.
He claimed several state governments had failed to honour a 2000 agreement allowing a consortium led by the BGC to build and operate the port at James Point.
BGC said in a statement although the loss of Buckeridge will be felt across the group, “the company has a strong board and management team, and, as Mr Buckeridge would have wanted, is continuing with ‘business as usual’.”
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett paid tribute to Buckeridge saying he was one of the state’s “great characters”.
“He never shied away from a fight, and certainly never shied away from contentious issues,” Barnett said in a statement.
“Len lived in my electorate and I would often see him around the area – he always had some advice to give me, regardless of whether I necessarily wanted to hear it!”
Barnett extended his condolences to Buckeridge’s wife Tootsie and his children.
“While he was often seen as a hard man in business, he was extraordinarily generous in the community and was always willing to help out local groups and sporting clubs,” Barnett said.