Zappos Founder Tony Hsieh’s Obsession Fire & Drug Use May Have Led To Death
Founder of shoe company Zappos, Tony Hsieh, spent his final hours planning to go to rehab before dying in a house fire in Connecticut last month.
The 46-year-old multimillionaire lived with a drug and alcohol addiction and friends of Hsieh told the Wall Street Journal that he was aware of how dangerously close to the edge he lived. While being in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hsieh experimented with psychedelic mushrooms and ecstasy. They said the tech wiz finally accepted that needed help and made plans to enter a Hawaiian rehab facility.
Details of what caused a shed at his girlfriend’s Connecticut waterfront estate to go up in flames isn’t clear, but authorities stated that the fire was accidental and Hsieh died from smoke inhalation. Upon entering the shed, Hsieh asked friends to check in on him every five minutes.
While it is still unknown as to what exactly happened that night, Hsieh’s obsessions with experimenting with his body may provide some clues as to what led him to his fate. One fascination he had was with fire itself. A Utah real estate agent recalled seeing about 1,000 candles in Hsieh’s Park City home earlier this year. Sources also said that he liked to use the heater in his girlfriend’s shed to decrease his oxygen levels. Additionally, he voluntarily inhaled nitrous gas or laughing gas (whip-its) to decrease his oxygen. Inhaling too much can cause a person to pass out.
But his manipulations with oxygen on his body wasn’t all the he played with. Hsieh would go on a 26-day alphabet diet where he would only eat foods starting with the the first letter each day. Day one would be for “a” with food such as apples, apricots, day two would be “b” and so on until he reached the letter “z”.
Hsieh would also try to go for as long he could without using the bathroom.
Hsieh sold Zappos to Amazon in 2009 for $1 billion. He also stepped down as CEO of Zappos in August.