Tom Perkins, co-founder of VC firm Kleiner Perkins, dies at 84

One of the "fathers of Silicon Valley", Perkins invested in many of the region's technology power houses.

Thomas J. Perkins, co-founder of Silicon Valley's driving VC firm Kleiner Perkins, died at 84 after a prolonged illness.

Perkins' assistant confirmed to the New York Times and Recode that Perkins died Tuesday night at his home in Marin County, California.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was founded in 1972 at the early days of Silicon Valley. The firm was an early backer in Google, Amazon, Genentech, and Netscape, building Perkins' wealth.

Prior to joining the firm, Perkins helped form the computer division at Hewlett-Packard, where he also served on the board. He is considered to be a founding father of Silicon Valley.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal in 2014, Perkins' stirred Silicon Valley by comparing criticism of the rich, "one percent" to the Nazi persecution of the Jews in the 20th century.

KPCB said in 2014 that Perkins hasn't been involved in the firm for many years, but is still listed as partner emeritus on its website.

KPCB said in a statement to TechCrunch:

As a cofounder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tom was a pioneer in the venture capital industry. He defined what we know of today as entrepreneurial venture capital by going beyond just funding to helping entrepreneurs realize their visions with operating expertise. He was there at the start of the biotech industry and the computer revolution. Tom was our partner and friend, and we will miss him.