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Police: Egan gunshot wound self inflicted

By Robert Weisman
Globe Staff / August 30, 2009

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Richard J. Egan, the billionaire entrepreneur who cofounded data storage provider EMC Corp. and served as US ambassador to Ireland, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday, according to a law enforcement officer with knowledge of the investigation.

Egan, 73, who died in his Boston home, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in May, according to a statement from his family. He also had diabetes, emphysema, and high blood pressure. Relatives weren't available for comment yesterday.

One of the leading high-tech entrepreneurs in Massachusetts and nationally, Egan kept a low public profile. EMC, the Hopkinton company he cofounded in 1979, has grown to a technology giant with about 40,000 employees worldwide. It was the highest-performing stock on the New York Stock Exchange during the 1990s tech boom.

After he retired as EMC's chairman in 2001, Egan, long a prominent Republican fund-raiser, served as American ambassador to Ireland for 15 months under President George W. Bush.

Former colleagues who worked closely with Egan talked of the competitive and success-oriented culture he built at EMC.

"Dick Egan stands as one of America's greatest entrepreneurs," Michael C. Ruettgers, who succeeded him as chairman of the company's board of directors, said in a statement. . . . He was truly a legend, from the halls of EMC to our customers' data centers and boardrooms."

Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to the report. Robert Weisman can be reached at weisman@globe.com.