Tributes flow for Len Buckeridge

Len Buckeridge, one of the State's most influential businessman, worked until his final moments yesterday when he died from a heart attack.

The 77-year-old billionaire founder of the Buckeridge Group of Companies had a heart attack at 8.15am while working from home.

Mr Buckeridge helped shape WA, with BGC's commercial, civil and residential developments spanning every part of the State over the past 50 years.

His death leaves a question mark over his billion-dollar lawsuit against the State Government over claims that it reneged on a deal to let him build a private port at James Point in Kwinana.

But the $2.5 billion business will remain in the family, with his son Sam Buckeridge and stepson Julian Ambrose set to run the empire.

His family and business peers say the father of six and grandfather of eight had appeared unwell but happy in recent days.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart paid tribute to the man with whom she developed a close working relationship, calling him a "rare gem" and an "outstanding Australian".

"The sad loss of my good friend Len Buckeridge is a very big loss, not just for me, but for Western Australia," she said.

Mrs Rinehart said the pair spoke at weekends. "I'll miss our chats, which invariably were always more about Australia and its future, not about our own companies," she said.

Kerry Stokes, the chairman of Seven West Media, said his first dealings with Mr Buckeridge were in the late 60s during the construction of several Hay Street offices.

"He was a person who was prepared to go that one step further and I admired his tenacity," he said.

"My thoughts are with his wife and family at this sad time.

"As a doyen of the building and construction industry he will be sadly missed by that industry and the West Australian community as a whole."

Premier Colin Barnett said Mr Buckeridge was one of the great characters of WA business. "He built a remarkably successful company in BGC, which today employs more than 4300 people and has fostered great loyalty from his staff," Mr Barnett said.

"He never shied away from a fight and certainly never shied away from contentious issues."

Labor leader Mark McGowan said Mr Buckeridge was a self-made man whose legacy would always be remembered.

BGC praised its founder as an icon and a visionary.

"The company has a strong board and management team and, as Mr Buckeridge would have wanted, is continuing with business as usual," it said.