Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens dies at 91

T. Boone Pickens, who amassed a fortune as an oil tycoon and corporate raider and gave much of it away as a philanthropist, has died at 91. (File)
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) T. Boone Pickens, who amassed a fortune as an oil tycoon and corporate raider and gave much of it away as a philanthropist, has died.

He was 91.

Spokesman Jay Rosser confirmed Pickens' death Wednesday to The Associated Press.

Pickens made his first millions in oil, burnishing an image as a maverick, unafraid to take on giants in the oil patch.

Even his name seemed to fit, like central casting's idea of what an oilman should be named.

Starting in the 1980s, he became known for launching hostile corporate takeover bids that often resulted in a huge payoff.

His fortune soared into the billions.

Pickens flirted with the idea of marketing water from West Texas to the state's metropolitan areas. In a break from his past, he also developed wind farms.

Pickens suffered a series of strokes and in November 2017 announced that he was selling his prized Mesa Vista Ranch, covering more than 100 square miles in the Texas Panhandle, for $250 million.

A month earlier he put his Dallas home on the market for $5.9 million.

Pickens built one of the country's biggest independent oil companies, Mesa Petroleum, before moving on to BP Capital and founding clean transportation fuels company Clean Energy.

He rose to national prominence in the 1980s when he led a series of takeover attempts, targeting Phillips Petroleum and other companies.

He's also given hundreds of millions to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.