Energy CEO McClendon dies in car accident

Aubrey McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp., died Wednesday in a car accident in Oklahoma City, police said. He was 56.

Reuters first reported the story.

His death came just one day after the U.S. Department of Justice indicted him for allegedly violating antitrust laws by colluding to rig bids for oil and gas acreage while he was at Chesapeake, which has been a central player in the U.S. fracking revolution of the past decade. He denied the charges.

McClendon resigned from Chesapeake in 2013 after a corporate governance crisis and investor concerns over his heavy spending, moving on to start American Energy Partners, and with the help of private equity funds, made huge bets on vast oil acreage around the United States and Australia.

Police said they were investigating the cause of the crash that occurred when McClendon was driving his 2013 Chevy Tahoe. Police said the vehicle was so badly burned they were unable to tell if McClendon was wearing his seat belt.

A native of Oklahoma, he attended Duke University before starting Chesapeake with his friend Tom Ward, who later spent time at the helm of SandRidge Energy, Inc.

“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,” a Chesapeake spokesman said in a statement.

(Reporting for Reuters by Liz Hampton, Jessica Resnick Ault and Ernest Scheyder; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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