Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, a pioneer of America’s natural gas and shale boom, died in a fiery car crash on the morning of Wednesday, March 2, 2016. The crash came a day after McClendon was indicted by a federal grand jury. He was scheduled to appear before a judge on Wednesday to answer to charges of bid rigging.
Shortly after the indictment was announced, McClendon made a statement in his own defense. “The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented,” he said. “All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.”
McClendon, 56, was said to have a big personality and a generous, giving spirit in Oklahoma and beyond. He owned a 20% stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder, an NBA team he helped bring to Oklahoma City from Seattle. He was a major donor to his alma mater, Duke University. Over the years, McClendon gained the respect of his peers in the industry, as well as those he worked with in the community. He is survived by his wife, Katie McClendon and three children, Jack, Callie and Will.
On Wednesday evening, news of McClendon’s death filled news feeds and social media channels across the globe. Statements of remembrance and condolence began flooding in from McClendon’s friends, family, oil & gas colleagues and community leaders around the world.
“This is not only a heartbreaking day for me but a sad day for all of Oklahoma. I met Aubrey when he was 23 years old and had the privilege of being his partner for 23 years. I have never met a man who worked harder or had more love for his state than Aubrey McClendon. My heart and prayers go out to Katie and the family.” – Tom L. Ward, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tapstone Energy (McClendon and Ward founded Chesapeake Energy together in 1989.)
“I’ve known Aubrey McClendon for nearly 25 years. He was a major player in leading the stunning energy renaissance in America. He was charismatic and a true American entrepreneur. No individual is without flaws, but his impact on American energy will be long-lasting.” – T. Boone Pickens
"I am overcome with grief. Aubrey McClendon was a visionary community leader, a trusted business partner and a passionate member of the Thunder family. But more than anything, he was a brother and a dear friend. His love of his community and his desire to make Oklahoma a better place will forever inspire all of us. Louise and I offer our love and prayers to Katie and the McClendon family." – Clayton I. Bennett, Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing today of Aubrey McClendon. He was one of the most visionary and brilliant people I have ever met. He was a difference maker and a key player in the shale revolution in America. He will be greatly missed. At this difficult time, we extend our prayers to his family.” – Burns Hargis, Oklahoma State University President
“My thoughts and prayers are with Aubrey McClendon’s family, friends and colleagues during this very difficult time. Aubrey will be remembered for his innovations in the oil and natural gas industry, his civic generosity and being a driving force to help grow economic opportunities for Oklahoma City. He was a visionary who raised the profile of Oklahoma.” – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
|Aubrey McClendon and Governor Mary Fallin talk before the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Radio Road and I-40 interchange in El Reno, Friday December 07, 2012. The ceremony was held at Performance Technologies L.L.C., an affiliate of Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman|
“He had tremendous, tremendous ideas about what our country was going to do to be energy independent. He loved that. He was always telling me, ‘listen we're this close to having natural gas vehicles, the F150, the natural gas.’ He had that natural gas motorcycle.” – Jim Cramer, CNBC
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Aubrey McClendon’s loved ones today. He played an instrumental role in America’s energy renaissance and his work will have a lasting impact on our city, state and country. He served as a leader in the growth and prosperity of Oklahoma City for many years, and his philanthropic efforts and other contributions have helped countless people.” – Devon Energy
“It is with deep sadness that AELP confirms that earlier today, its founder, Aubrey K. McClendon died in a car accident on Midwest Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Aubrey’s tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world. We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity. We will deeply mourn his loss and please join us in expressing our condolences to his family.” – American Energy Partners
“Chesapeake is deeply saddened by the news that we have heard today and our thoughts and prayers are with the McClendon family during this difficult time.” – Chesapeake Energy
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Aubrey’s family. We will always appreciate and remember Aubrey’s generosity and civic pride in our community – from his support of countless local charities to the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of OKC to the arts. His philanthropic investments in local schools and universities, the Boathouse District and throughout our city consistently raised the standards of what Oklahoma City could be. His love and support of this community will loom large for decades to come.” – Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett
“The death of Aubrey McClendon is a tremendous tragedy for his family and for Oklahoma. Cindy and I pray the Lord's comfort over his family and the many people that Aubrey's life touched. His death leaves an empty void for many in the Oklahoma City community.” – Senator James Lankford
“Today's events are tragic in many ways. Aubrey McClendon was a pioneer in the oil and natural gas industry. His vision and leadership helped make Oklahoma the leader it is in oil and natural gas development. The impact of his life's work is evident throughout the industry. He was also an incredibly proud Oklahoman who loved his state and demonstrated that through incredible generosity. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and father. We mourn with the McClendon family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.” – Chad Warmington, president of Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association
“Aubrey McClendon was passionate about his family, his business and Duke University. His generosity helped transform Duke in ways large and small, from his commitment to enhancing student life on campus, to his support for the Duke Chapel, to his love of Duke athletics. We grieve with Katie, Will, Callie and Jack, as we also celebrate his legacy at Duke and beyond.” – Duke University