Sheldon Adelson, Multibillionaire Casino Owner and Major Republican Donor, Dies at 87

Benjamin VanHoose

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Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino owner and big-time donor to the Republican Party, has died. He was 87.

His casino and resort destination Las Vegas Sands announced the news, confirming that Adelson died Monday night from "complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma." There will be a funeral held in Israel, with a Las Vegas memorial service at a later date. According to Forbes, he was worth $35 billion.

"He will be missed by people from all parts of the world who were touched by his generosity, kindness, intellect and wonderful sense of humor," the Sands staff said in a press release.

Adelson used his large fortune amassed over a career of expanding his gambling businesses around the world to fund Republican and right-wing initiatives, including being a major financial supporter of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"I've spent time talking to Donald Trump. Do I agree with him on every issue? No. But it's unlikely that any American agrees with his or her preferred candidate on every issue," Adelson wrote in a May 2016 Washington Post op-ed endorsing Trump. "... He is a candidate with actual CEO experience, shaped and molded by the commitment and risk of his own money rather than the public's."

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"Despite being the grandson of a Welsh coal miner and the son of a Boston cab driver," he wrote at the time, "I've had the remarkable experience of being part of almost 50 different businesses in my more than 70-year business career. So, tell me I'm not a conservative enough Republican or I'm too hawkish on Israel or whatever else you may think, but I think I've earned the right to talk about success and leadership."

According to The New York Times, Adelson attended Trump's inauguration, to which he contributed an unprecedented $5 million for its organizing committee. Prior to that, he gave the 2016 Trump campaign $25 million, the outlet reported.

Trump, 74, released a statement via the White House saying he and First Lady Melania Trump are mourning Adelson's death and they sent their "heartfelt condolences to his wife Miriam, his children and grandchildren."

"Sheldon lived the true American dream," the president continued. "His ingenuity, genius, and creativity earned him immense wealth, but his character and philanthropic generosity his great name."

Adelson's wife Miriam was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018, the same year the couple gave some $123 million to Republican PACS and campaigns, according to Forbes.

Adelson went from selling and delivering newspapers as a kid to owning major media outlets, including the Israel Hayom newspaper in Israel and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was also a proponent of Trump's move to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem back in 2018.