Petr Kellner, Czech Republic’s richest man, died Saturday in a helicopter accident that killed five in Alaska. He was 56.
His death was confirmed in a statement from PPF, his investment group, which said: “With great sadness, PPF announces that on March 27, 2021, majority shareholder of PPF Mr. Petr Kellner tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in the Alaskan mountains. The incident, in which 5 lives were lost, is under investigation.”
Forbes puts Kellner’s net worth at $17.4 billion and the titan of Czech business recently branched out into media through PPF, which acquired entertainment operating company Central European Media Enterprises last October.
Central European Media Enterprises owns 30 television networks across Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This includes Bulgaria’s bTV and TV Nova in the Czech Republic, which was the broadcaster that established Central European Media Enterprises as a media player in 1994.
PPF, which also owns telecoms firms in central and eastern Europe including O2 Czech Republic, added: “Petr Kellner was 56 years old. His professional life was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family. His funeral will be held with only close family members. We please ask the media to respect the privacy of the Kellner family during this difficult time.”
Per AP, the four others killed in the helicopter accident were identified as Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado; Benjamin Larochaix, 50, of the Czech Republic; and Alaskans, Sean McMannany, 38, and the pilot, Zachary Russel, 33.