Billionaire businessman James “Jim” Crown died in a car racing accident at a motorsports park in Colorado Sunday — the same day he turned 70 years old.
Crown, who served as a board member at both JPMorgan and General Dynamics, was killed when his car careened into an impact barrier at Aspen Motorsports Park in Woody Creek, the Colorado Sun reported, citing the local coroner.
“The official cause of death is pending autopsy although multiple blunt force trauma is evident,” the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office said in a news release. “The manner is an accident.”
Crown was the CEO and president of his family’s business, investment firm Henry Crown and Company, from which he inherited his roughly $10.2 billion fortune. He also served as the managing partner of Aspen Skiing Co. and split his time between Chicago, his main residence, and Colorado.
He sat on the board of JPMorgan since the early ’90s.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Jim’s family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time,” Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement. “Our thoughts are also with all of you who knew and loved Jim, as much as I did. He was an integral part of JPMorgan Chase and our lives, and his presence will be deeply missed.”
Former President Barack Obama appointed Crown to his administration’s Intelligence Advisory Board in 2014 and considered him a “dear friend.”
Obama said he and wife Michelle were heartbroken over Crown’s death in a statement Monday.
“Jim was a pillar of Chicago, a prominent voice in the Jewish community, and a true civic leader who loved our city,” the former president and first lady said in a joint statement. “…He cared deeply about Chicago and making it a place where everyone could thrive — no matter who they are or what part of town they call home.”
Crown was civically involved in both Chicago and Colorado. He was chair emeritus of the Aspen Institute and a trustee at the Museum of Science and Industry, the Civic Committee, and the University of Chicago.
“He was so much more than the business or civic leader he will be remembered as — he was a dynamic and deeply devoted son, husband, father, brother, and friend,” the Obamas said. “We are just so lucky to have known him.”
Crown is survived by his wife Paula as well as their four children, several grandchildren, and his parents.
“The Crown family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Jim Crown,” a family representative said in a statement to the media. “The family requests that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”
Several local agencies are investigating the fatal crash including the coroner’s office, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado State Patrol.