Warren Buffett has prostate cancer

Warren Buffett has prostate cancer

OMAHA, Nebraska - The Associated Press
Warren Buffett has prostate cancer

Billionaire Warren Buffet says he feels energetic despite his health problems. REUTERS photo

Warren Buffett says he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer but the 81-year-old chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway is giving no indication he plans on retiring any time soon.

The billionaire investing legend assured shareholders in a letter made public late on April 17 that his condition is “not remotely life-threatening.” The two-month radiation treatment he and his doctors plan to start in mid-July will restrict his travel but shouldn’t otherwise affect his routine, he said.

“I feel great as if I were in my normal excellent health,” Buffett said. “And my energy level is 100 percent.”

Cancer experts say Buffett’s diagnosis shouldn’t be a major concern because it appears his doctors diagnosed the disease early. Still, the news will remind Berkshire investors of Buffett’s mortality. And the disclosure is bound to give rise to fresh speculation about who will eventually succeed Buffett at Berkshire’s helm.

“The chance of dying of prostate cancer for Mr. Buffett in the next 10 years is probably 2 or 3 percent, so the prognosis is great,” said Dr. Ralph deVere White, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Davis.

Buffett is one of the world’s richest men -his stake in Berkshire Hathaway is worth about $44.6 billion- and in recent years he has become one of the most generous philanthropists.

He and Berkshire’s board have a succession plan in place. Berkshire plans to split Buffett’s job into three parts -CEO, chairman and several investment managers- when the company does need to replace him.

He told shareholders in February that Berkshire’s board has chosen someone to succeed him as CEO “someday” and he said there are two backup candidates.

None of the three has been publicly identified.