13 Investigates


Tony Hsieh: The Rise, the Fall, the Future

Posted at 11:26 AM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-11 16:26:35-05

THE LATEST: One year following his unexpected death, and just days before his 48th birthday, 13 Investigates looks into the future of Hsieh's fortune. 13 Investigates reviewed the court record and found more than $130 million in claims filed by a combination of about 10 individuals and companies. READ MORE

On Dec. 11, 2021, the downtown Las Vegas community is hosting several events in honor of his birthday. Hsieh would have turned 48 on Dec. 12. READ MORE

"Tony Hsieh: The Rise, the Fall, the Future" full series can be found here, as well the latest developments in the investigation of Tony Hsieh's death and interviews from influential people who knew Hsieh.

From the future to downtown Las Vegas to the lasting impact he had on the city, 13 Action News spent countless hours investigating the life, death and legacy of Tony Hsieh.


PART 1 | The rise of a shoe mogul, giant footprint left behind

Tony Hsieh was a shoe mogul who left a giant footprint in downtown Las Vegas. The rise of the visionary shaped that area for decades to come. Hsieh made a fortune by defying what "normal" is. In fact, he encouraged people to embrace their inner weirdness and spread happiness to others.

PART 2 | Park City, Utah, leads to adventure, warning signs

Hsieh abruptly and quietly left Zappos around August of 2020 and set his sights on a new adventure in a quiet ski town about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City.

Some say the "retired" shoe mogul was trying to duplicate what he envisioned for Las Vegas in the snow-covered ski slopes in Utah. His time there was marked by home-buying, wild parties, law enforcement interventions and a growing concern about his mental health, according to documents.

PART 3 | Mystery surrounds deadly fire
The final moments and what was going on in the mind of the Las Vegas visionary will likely never be known, leaving investigators to piece together what they found at the fire scene in New London, Conn. According to the reports, it is possible that Hsieh’s carelessness or intentional acts may have started the fire in the shed where he was found.

13 Action News Investigative Reporter Joe Bartels uses 9-1-1 calls, body camera footage and other records to present a timeline of that day and what investigators know so far.

PART 4 | The future of downtown in his absence

Hsieh delivered on a vision to change downtown Las Vegas. He backed projects that altered its trajectory for decades to come, and he purchased hundreds of properties in the area. But now that he's gone, many are wondering what happens next?


DIGGING DEEPER | Reporter Joe Bartels discusses interesting findings

13 Investigates Reporter Joe Bartels spent months digging into the life and death of Tony Hsieh, a multi-millionaire tech mogul who, for a time, lived in an Airstream trailer and reportedly owned just four pairs of shoes. Hsieh was different. Joe talks about some of the most interesting things he learned during the creation of "Tony Hsieh: The Rise, the Fall, the Future."

A LOOK BACK: Tony Hsieh talks about his vision for Zappos, downtown Las Vegas

13 Action News spoke to the former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh in 2011 about his plans to move Zappos to the former Las Vegas City Hall. He discussed his plans to turn the downtown headquarters into a "Disneyland" for his employees and his vision for downtown Las Vegas.

'DOMINO EFFECT' | Derek Stevens talks DTLV today and Hsieh's role in shaping it

Derek Stevens, the owner of The D and Circa hotel-casinos, is a longtime investor in downtown Las Vegas. Stevens talks about life downtown before Fremont East became a go-to spot for entertainment, and recalls the "domino effect" that Hsieh started after he brought Zappos headquarters into the neighborhood.

DRIVING CULTURE | Kip Kelly explores what Hsieh brought to DTLV

Former casino executive Kip Kelly explores what Hsieh brought to the downtown area that opened it up from "a niche" spot for "discounted dining and gaming" to an art and culture hub with an annual music festival.

"He brought some culture, he brought some vibe, he brought some color and he brought some cool."

INSIDE TONY'S MANSION | Dave Perrico describes visit to Park City

Las Vegas entertainer Dave Perrico describes a visit he had to Tony Hsieh's Park City mansion in August of 2020.

A NEW HOME | Multiple properties in Utah belong to Hsieh's estate

After Tony Hsieh retired as CEO of Zappos in August 2020, he moved to Park City, Utah, the site of the Sundance Film Festival, and bought multiple properties. Although Hsieh never articulated his vision for Park City publicly, many of the people who knew him say he hoped to recreate part of what he created in Las Vegas.

SIDE PROJECTS | Investing in startups, Las Vegas area businesses

In 2012 Hsieh launched a side company called Downtown Project, now known as DTP. The purpose of the company was to invest $350 million of Hsieh’s money into real estate, restaurants, tech startups and other ventures in the Fremont Street area near the former city hall. DTP was also responsible for the creation of the Life is Beautiful.

WHAT'S NEXT? | Carolyn Wheeler talks about the future of DTLV

Carolyn Wheeler, executive director for the Downtown Vegas Alliance, talks about the future of downtown Las Vegas without Tony, including things that Derek Stevens, Elon Musk, developer Sam Cherry and others are doing.

Map of downtown properties owned by Tony Hsieh
Click here for a map of the 100+ properties that were owned by Tony Hsieh at the time of his death.


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