Joseph Robert passes away

Legendary private equity real estate professional and philanthropist Joseph Robert has died at the age of 59.

Joseph Robert, the legendary private equity real estate professional and philanthropist, has passed away at the age of 59.

Robert, who founded JER Partners in 1981, died late Wednesday at his home in McLean, Virginia, according to the Washington Post. The newspaper said his death had been confirmed by Mike McGillis, managing director and chief financial officer of the firm.

Tributes to Robert have been posted on the website of the newspaper.

Jim Gulley said: “I was leasing a Grade C office complex on Rockville Pike at Nicholson Lane in 1981 when a young man in a hurry came to the leasing office and said he needed space right away, as he had just left his father's firm. We never made a deal, but Joe Robert sure came a long way in a short time. The brightest stars burn intensely for so short a time!”

In only the third ever issue of PERE magazine in 2005, Robert gave an interview in which he described his start in real estate. He said: “Whoever turns over the most rocks wins at the end of the day.”

Robert died of glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer that he had been suffering from for the past two years.

Real Estate Bisnow, a US commercial property publication, said: “Joe Robert taught us how to live, and he taught us how to die. Since founding investment firm JER Partners in 1981, he painted his life on a big and bold canvas and became one of the great figures in commercial real estate and philanthropy. For the two years he was diagnosed with brain cancer, until he died late yesterday at age 59, he continued to fight valiantly for the causes he loved, making painful public appearances nearly to the end.”