Business Tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. passes away at 93

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Photo Credits: Jay Directo, AFP/file

John Gokongwei Jr., the second richest man in the Philippines, passed away at 93, his son Lance Gokongwei confirmed.

“Our beloved husband, father and grandfather John Gokongwei Jr. passed away peacefully 11:41 pm, November 9th, at the Manila Doctor’s Hospital surrounded by his loved ones. Please pray for the repose of his soul. Details of his wake to follow. Rest in Peace, Mr. John,” Lance Gokongwei said in a text message to Esquire Philippines.

The Forbes, as of November 10, listed Gokongwei’s net worth at $5.3 billion.

JG Summit, founded by Gokongwei in 1957, is one the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with business interests in air transportation, banking, food manufacturing, hotels, petrochemicals, power generation, publishing, real estate and property development, and telecommunications.

He received the Lifetime Achievement award in University of Cebu, his alma mater, in October 2018 and said he “loved being an entrepreneur.

“I earned about P20 a day by working longer and harder than everybody else. But it didn’t matter since I really loved my work. I loved being an entrepreneur,” Gokongwei said.

“And so all through the years, I stayed as an entrepreneur, loving what I did and working hard. And always learning from the school of life.”

More than acquiring wealth, Gokongwei devoted a decade of his life giving back to the community.

“I will devote the rest of my life to philanthropy,” he said in a Philippine Star article at the time.

He donated 20 billion, half of his shares in the JG Summit Holdings, to the family foundation when he turned 80 years old in 2006.

“Life has been good to me, and I want to give back the blessings I have received.”

The donation was considered as “the biggest philanthropic endowment in Philippine history.”