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Buffett jokes with shareholders after cancer diagnosis

Warren Buffet-Berkshire meeting

Warren Buffett enjoys a frozen treat while touring the vendor floor at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, in Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday May 5, 2012. AP Photo/The World-Herald, Kent Sievers

WASHINGTON—Billionaire Warren Buffett, who announced last month he had been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, on Saturday joked about his health and told shareholders: “I feel terrific.”

“I have four doctors, at least a few own Berkshire Hathaway” stock, he said with a smile at the yearly stockholders’ meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

“They described various alternatives and the ones they recommended do not involve a day of hospitalization, they don’t require me to take a day off work, the survival numbers are way up,” said Buffett, 81.

“So… maybe I’ll get shot by a jealous husband, but this is a really minor thing,” he joked.

Buffett’s close friend and number two, Charlie Munger, quipped: “I resent all this attention Warren is getting. I probably have more prostate cancer than he does. But I don’t know because I don’t let them test for it.”

Buffett announced on April 17 that he had early-stage prostate cancer, and indicated he had no intention of stepping down as head of his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway.

A larger-than-life financier known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his investment savvy, Buffett is known for his humble manner and modest tastes despite amassing billions as the mastermind and chief executive of Berkshire.

Buffett held the number three spot on the Forbes richest list released last month, with an estimated net worth of $44 billion.

The question of who will succeed Buffett when the inevitable happens has been gaining intensity as the octogenarian ages.

In February, Buffett announced that a successor had been chosen to lead Berkshire, although he did not identify the person.

In December, he said his corn farmer son Howard would be a good “guardian of the culture” at Berkshire, suggesting he could become non-executive chairman that would preside over the board of directors but not the company itself.

The company’s closely watched investment portfolio has significant holdings in the railroad, retail and utility industries.

Buffett recently made headlines by complaining that his secretary paid a higher tax rate than he did, giving birth to the so-called “Buffett Rule” backed by President Barack Obama.

The initiative calls for a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for people making more than $1 million a year.


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