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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he has cancer

The 81-year-old said that his cancer was not life-threatening and he expected to continue in his role as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Image: Nati Harnik/AP/Press Association Images

THE BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR and philanthropist Warren Buffett has announced that he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer but has not given any indication that he plans to retire.

In a letter published on the website of Berkshire Hathaway last night, the 81-year-old said that the condition was not life-threatening and revealed that he will undergo daily radiation for two months in mid-July.

“The good news is that I’ve been told by my doctors that my condition is not remotely lifethreatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way,” he said in a letter to shareholders of the company he is chairman and CEO of.

He added: “I feel great – as if I were in my normal excellent health – and my energy level is 100 percent.”

Known for his no-nonsense approach to investing, Buffett is widely acknowledged to be one of the most successful investors in the world. He is one of the world’s richest men with his stake in Berkshire Hathaway valued at some $44.6 billion.

A notable philanthropist, he has pledged to give away 99 per cent of his fortune to charities and other causes.

His call for a tax on the wealthiest citizens inthe United States has led to a proposal recently announced by President Barack Obama to impose a minimum tax of 30 per cent on income over $1million.

Mystery successors

Buffett had previously noted how he pays a lower rate of tax than his secretary due to current legislation which ensures low taxes on capital gains and income from investment dividends.

Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance, railway and utility businesses typically account for more than half of its net income but is also has interests in clothing, furniture, brick and jewellery firms.

It is also a major investor in such companies as American Express, International Business Machines, the Washington Post and Wells Fargo.

Although Buffett’s investment success has made him a household name — and made him a Wall Street oracle — he still works in his hometown of Omaha and lives in a house he bought in 1958.

In February, he told Berkshire shareholders that the company’s board had chosen someone to succeed him as CEO and he said there are two backup candidates. None of the three has been publicly identified.

But in his letter Buffett said he intended to maintain his daily routine and added: “I will let shareholders know immediately should my health situation change. Eventually,of course, it will; but I believe that day is a long way off.”

- with reporting from Associated Press

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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