Update: Leicester City confirmed the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in the helicopter crash.
Last night (Oct. 27), a helicopter crashed outside the Leicester City soccer team’s stadium in England. According to a report from Reuters, the helicopter was carrying Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who is the owner of the Leicester City team. The BBC named four other people who were on board: the pilot and his partner as well as two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff.
There has been no confirmation of whether Srivaddhanaprabha and the others died in the crash, but fans have gathered at the stadium to pay their respects.
Srivaddhanaprabha is the founder and CEO of the duty-free shop company King Power. Through the success of King Power, Srivaddhanaprabha became one of Thailand’s richest people. Forbes estimates that he is worth nearly $5 billion.
Srivaddhanaprabha’s wealth allowed him to purchase Leicester City’s soccer team in 2010. His shrewd management of the team made him beloved by the team’s supporters. In one of the most miraculous turnarounds in modern sports, Leicester City won the English Premier League for the first time in the team’s history. The betting odds for the team to win the title prior to the season were 5,000 to 1.
As an owner, Srivaddhanaprabha hired smart people to run the team, and gave them the resources to execute a plan. He has been notably patient with his staff, which has allowed them to make long-term investments in rising players like James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho.
“I’m just devastated, really,” a team supporter told the BBC. “These owners have been absolutely fantastic. Probably the best owners in the whole English system. They have been so good to the club, team and fans.”