Richard Egan received an electrical engineering from Northeastern University in 1962. After that he helped develop Project Apollo memory systems for NASA. Before starting EMC Corporation, Egan had worked for Lockheed Martin, Intel, and Honeywell. He had also served as a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps.
In 2005, Forbes ranked Egan the 258th richest American and his net worth was about $1.3 billion. George W. Bush appointed Egan as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland where he served in that position from August 2001 to December 2002. Egan retired from EMC on January 17, 2001. He started the company with Roger Marino in 1979.
On August 28, 2009, Egan committed suicide at his home in Boston. He was suffering from Stage IV terminal lung cancer. He also suffered from diabetes and emphysema. Egan lives on through his wife and five children.