An aviation-to-financial services conglomerate that counts Hainan Airlines Co as its core asset, HNA's recent sales include holdings in companies such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc, Park Hotels & Resorts and Spain's NH Hotels.
HNA also had an agreement to buy SkyBridge Capital, the firm of former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, but that deal collapsed due to close scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US. It called Wang "an exceptionally gifted leader and role model".
"HNA Wang Jian died" briefly ranked 11th on the Twitter-like Weibo's hot topics page, but was quickly gone from the top 50. HNA's latest annual report showed the group had more than $US90 billion in debt.
HNA Group controls an 8.8 percent stake in Deutsche Bank.
However, the company's ownership structure has always been complex and murky.
Wang and co-founder Chen Feng built HNA into a company with more than $230bn in assets.
The police are not taking the death scene of Mr. Wang as suspicious and a local police chief, Hubert Meriaux, said that Mr. Wang was willing to be framed in a shot by his family when he fell.
But HNA came under pressure previous year as Beijing cracked down on the risky debt-fuelled financing that enabled its expansion.
"Wang Jian had a hereditary heart disease, and he had undergone heart surgery before", the friend told Caixin, the Chinese business and news organization based in Beijing. His attention to detail extended to choosing office furniture and installing a statue of Guan Yu, a legendary general during China's Three Kingdoms period, in one of HNA's offices in Hong Kong.
"It will also put HNA Group and related companies' restructuring plans back on the drawing board".
Jian was a civil aviation official early in his career before helping to found Hainan Airlines in the early 1990s.
Concerns about HNA's financial situation mounted in the ensuing months. The conglomerate now has more than 10 airlines among its affiliated companies. This explains why HNA's dollar bonds fell after the company confirmed the news of his death. In January, as the volume of news about HNA's liquidity issues were peaking, it suspended six of its listed stocks from trading. Last year, regulators in New Zealand blocked HNA from purchasing a auto loan company out of concern over the company's financial stability.