One of the State’s leading businessmen, Len Buckeridge, has died of a heart attack aged 77 after a long battle with illness.
The billionaire businessman behind the Buckeridge Group of Companies died at his Peppermint Grove home this morning.
His sister Margaret Halcombe said she was in deep sorrow.
Mrs Halcombe said he was a “huge and generous man”.
“We spoke on the phone yesterday and we laughed about a few things,” she said.
“He did say he wasn’t good yesterday, but mentally he was very strong until the end.”
Mr Buckeridge, whose wealth was estimated at $2.5 billion, continued to work several days a week.
Former construction union boss Kevin Reynolds, who knew Mr Buckeridge for 45 years, said he always had a begrudging respect for Mr Buckeridge.
Mr Reynolds waged many industrial relations battles with Mr Buckeridge.
The businessman was once fined for driving his car through a union picket line in Canningvale.
Never one to back away from a battle, Mr Buckeridge had taken on a billion-dollar law suit against the State Government over his claims that it reneged on a deal for him to build a private port.
“He was an old war horse and we had our battles, but he certainly earned every dollar he had,” Mr Reynolds said.
“He wasn’t given anything on a silver platter. He worked for it, and he created a lot of projects and a lot of jobs."
Premier Colin Barnett described Mr Buckeridge as “one of the great characters of WA business”.
“He built a remarkably successful company in BGC, which today employs more than 4,300 people, and has fostered great loyalty from his staff,” Mr Barnett said in a statement.
“He never shied away from a fight, and certainly never shied away from contentious issues.
“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.
“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. I extend my condolences to his wife, Tootsie, and his children.”