Padma Lakshmi's Beau Theodore Forstmann Dies; Mourned as Philanthropist and 'Capitalist Saint'

Members of business world and philanthropic community across the globe have been expressing their sadness over the death of Theodore "Teddy" Forstmann, a businessman and philanthropist known also for being romantically involved with "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi.

Forstmann died Sunday aged 71 after having battled and lost the fight with brain cancer. He was chairman and CEO of IMG, a leading global sports and media company, and one of the founding partners of Forstmann Little & Company, a private equity firm that acquired such companies as private jet maker Gulfstream Aerospace and Dr. Pepper.

He was also deeply involved in charity work. The New York Post described Fortsmann as "capitalist saint" in a report paying tribute to the businessman who is considered by many to have invented the private equity business.

In Feb. 2011, Forstmann became a signatory of The Giving Pledge, a campaign started in 2010 by famous billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The initiative is meant to encourage the extremely rich - specifically American billionaires - to give away the majority of their wealth for a charitable cause. Almost 70 individuals have signed the pledge so far, among them New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, movie director George Lucas, media mogul Ted Turner, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Forstmann was also known for an alleged relationship with the late Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales. A report has it that there was some sort of a flirtation between the two, and that the two were at one point romantically involved.

His influence stretched from Wall Street to Hollywood, many say, as Forstmann is now being mourned by business people, socialites and celebrities.

"Forstmann Little reflected the qualities of its founder and chairman: reliability, analytical skill and foresight," Henry Kissinger said about the late businessman via The New York Times blog. "Teddy was an inspiring colleague and indispensable friend."

People who were close to the billionaire or admired him have also paid their respects via Twitter.

"We mourn the loss of our leader Ted Forstmann, a true visionary," was a Tweet published by IMG.

"RIP Teddy Forstmann. Even 'tho our politics were quite different I deeply valued his intellectual rigor & generosity," tweeted Rob Glaser, founder of RealNetworks.

Forstmann found himself in the media spotlight over the past few years after dating Lakshmi, 41.

Forstmann and Lakshmi, never married, were previously rumored to have had a daughter, Krishna, together. However, it emerged later that venture capitalist Adam Dell was the girl's father.