Jim Boyle Jun. 2, 2014, 6:25am


Five days after buying out his former partners for control of The Philadelphia Inquirer,

renowned businessman and philanthropist Lewis Katz, 72, died in a plane crash Saturday night, the Associated Press reports.

Katz was one of seven people killed in the crash in Massachusetts, according to the AP. He had just attended a party at the home of author Doris Kearns Goodwin and boarded the Gulfstream IV jet at a Boston airfield, on his way to Atlantic City. There were three crewmen and four passengers total, but the other identities had not been released.

Katz and his partner, Harold H.F. Lenfest, outbid a rival faction led by George Norcross and purchased full control of Interstate General Media Holdings, the controlling company of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com for $88 million.

Norcross, Lenfest, Katz and other investors formed the company in 2012 and bought the publications for $55 million. Not long after the deal, disagreements over the newspaper's direction began to split the group, with disputes spilling into the public square. The sealed auction on Tuesday definitively ended the relationship with Norcross and his supporters, Joseph Buckelew and William Hankowsky.

"Lew's long-standing commitment to the community and record of strong philanthropy across the region, particularly Camden where he was born and raised, will ensure that his legacy will live on," said the three ousted investors in a joint statement.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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