The 55-year-old Grant Adamson was on vacation with his wife, Terry, and their two daughters at the time of the accident. The family crashed into an electric power line while trying to land the hot-air balloon after a two-hour flight Tuesday, falling 165 feet.
The pilot, Terry Adamson and the two daughters, 24-year-old Lauren and 20-year-old Megan, were seriously injured in the accident.
The Adamsons are one of California's most prominent families, helping to develop the wealthy seaside enclave of Malibu in the 1960s. It was a land donation from the Adamson family that brought Pepperdine University to Malibu in the early 1970s.
Grant Adamson was a founding member of Pepperdine's Crest Advisory Board, and Terry Adamson is a law professor at Pepperdine's School of Law. Both daughters were students at the school.
Swiss police have opened an investigation into the accident.
In the U.S., despite millions of flights, there have only been 760 recorded hot-air balloon accidents since 1964, and just 67 of them have been fatal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.