Billionaire libertarian donor David Koch passed away on Friday at the age of 79.
“While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart,” his family said in a statement.
David and his brother Charles, who were tied for the title of the 7th-richest person in the world, were for years political influencers with their powerful Koch Industries. He stepped down from the company last year. They often donated to conservative causes, although David was more liberal on social issues.
The network the brothers built includes more than 700 donors who give $100,000 or more a year, as well as a group called Americans for Prosperity that has chapters in 36 states. In terms of its influence on the conservative agenda in the U.S., the network is rivaled only by the Republican Party. (Wall Street Journal)
Koch's political influence didn't always come via his wallet. In 1980 he was chosen as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate, alongside lawyer Ed Clark.
David also donated over $1 billion of his wealth to charity, including millions of dollars in cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In the early 1990s, Koch had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
His brother Charles released the following statement after his passing.
Statement from Koch Industries Chairman and CEO Charles Koch on the Passing of his Brother David. pic.twitter.com/VZi4pucxhZ— Koch Industries (@KochIndustries) August 23, 2019
The Republican State Leadership Committee weighed in as well.
“A pioneer of American industry, a selfless philanthropist, and a steadfast champion of freedom, Mr. Koch embodied the spirit of our great country in everything he did," said RSLC President Austin Chambers. "We’re deeply saddened by his loss, but remain grateful for the everlasting differences he made in government, politics, and the arts and sciences. We offer our condolences to his family and the millions of people around the world whose lives have been lifted up by his great work. Our world is a better place because of the life Mr. Koch led.”
Editor's Note: This piece has been updated.