David Koch, the billionaire libertarian who chaired Koch Industries and is known for his profound influence on American politics, has died at 79, his family has confirmed.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life,” his older brother, Charles Koch, said in a statement.
“While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart,” his family said.
Koch had been battling prostate cancer for the past 27 years, his brother said.
“David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay. We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result,” his family’s statement said.
While Koch came down on the liberal side of social issues including same-sex marriage and abortion, he was one of the largest Republican donors in the party’s history and lobbied for conservative causes, free trade, lower taxes, and deregulation.
With a net worth of about $50.5 billion, Koch was neck-and-neck with his brother as the 11th-richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
Koch remained executive vice president of Koch Industries until retiring in June of last year.