Angela Chao, Mitch McConnell's sister-in-law, dies in suspected drowning: report

 February 16, 2024

Angela Chao, the sister-in-law of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), may have died in a drowning despite initial reports of a car crash. 

Chao, the 50-year-old CEO of global shipping company Foremost Group and younger sister of McConnell's wife Elaine Chao, is believed to have drowned in a body of water on a private ranch in Blanco County, Texas.

The cause of death has not been officially determined, but police do not suspect foul play.

McConnell's sister-in-law drowns

Chao lived in Austin, Texas with her venture capitalist husband Jim Breyer, the billionaire CEO of Breyer Capital and partial owner of the Boston Celtics.

While the details of Chao's death are murky, police suspect she drowned after her vehicle was found submerged in water in a wealthy enclave of Texas' Hill Country, about 60 miles west of her home in Austin.

"EMS attempted emergency measures on her but she succumbed from being under the water," a statement from the Blanco County Sherriff's office said.

The police added, "our preliminary investigation has determined this to be an unfortunate accident. The investigation is ongoing."

Shipping CEO

The daughter of proud Chinese immigrant parents, Chao was the youngest of six sisters and CEO of the shipping company founded by her father, James Chao.

The Harvard Business School graduate was a respected leader within her industry and served on the boards of the Metropolitan Opera, the American Bureau of Shipping Council, and Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors.

The Foremost Group called Chao "a formidable executive and shipping industry leader, as well as a proud and loving daughter, sister, aunt, wife and mother."

Chao's bereaved father described her as a role model for women in business and a lover of the arts with a “fierce intellectual curiosity that endeared her to everyone and helped her excel at everything she did.”

"Angela’s name in Chinese sounds like the characters for peace and prosperity. She certainly gave more than her share of both to this world,” he said. "Her absence leaves a void not only in our hearts, but in the Asian-American community."

Her sister Elaine Chao served as Transportation Secretary under President Trump and before that, as Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush.

Such a tragic loss. RIP.

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