Nothing Funny Today

Folks, I've been covering the death of hedge fund chief Michael Klein in a plane crash this week in Panama. He died along with his 13-year-old daughter, Talia, and the 23-year-old Panamanian pilot, Edwin Lasso.

Talia's teenage friend, Francesca Lewis, miraculously survived and is now being treated in a hospital after a grueling rescue mission. Her parents have joined her in Panama.

It's another example of how life is fleeting. Klein was a whip-smart kid who skipped high school and went directly to college at UC Santa Barbara at the age of 14. He graduated at 17 and would later attend law school and get his MBA.

But his passion was finding opportunities and turning them into profitable success stories. He started several software companies that he then sold, including eGroups, a large group email service he reportedly sold to Yahoo in 2000 for $450 million. He was 30 years old at the time.

Klein then became a client at Pacificor in Santa Barbara, a firm which says it manages $600 million in hedge fund assets. He ended up owning the place.

Klein also became a pilot, loved the outdoors, and even bought his own island off the Panamanian coast, which he turned into an eco-resort. His colleague at Pacificor, Kurt Benjamin, describes him as "insightful, brilliant, funny," a man who "loved his daughter with his whole heart."

The daughter's mother, Klein's ex-wife Kim, flew to Panama after the plane went missing Sunday and promised a $25,000 reward to anyone who could find the aircraft. It was found yesterday afternoon, Christmas Day.

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