David Koch, a billionaire who invested heavily in conservative political candidates, has died, his brother announced Friday.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David,” Charles Koch said in a statement Friday, NBC News reported. “Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life.”
Charles Koch noted that his brother had lived 27 years after his diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer led doctors to tell him he had only a few years of life remaining.
“David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay,” Charles Koch said in his statement, Fox News reported. “We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.”
“While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart,” Koch’s family said, according to National Review.
The brothers used the income from Koch Industries, an energy and chemical company that produced a wide range of consumer products, to support candidates who supported their political views.
The New York Times estimated that since the 1970s, the brothers had given more than $100 million to support conservative candidates and causes.
Their impact led liberal and Democratic politicians to attack their giving as a sign of undue corporate influence on American politics. Some kept up the attack even after David Koch’s death.
David Koch was a villain. He and his brother worked consciously to further inequality and poverty with their greed and politicking. I won’t celebrate his death—but patronage of the arts, science, and medical research could never outweigh the damage he did. https://t.co/2us7IJ2lUb
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) August 23, 2019
David Koch also focused his giving on education, the arts and health research.
“The significance of David’s generosity is best captured in the words of Adam Smith, who wrote, ‘to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature,’” Charles Koch said in his statement.
David Koch’s passing drew a buzz of reaction on Twitter.
I was saddened to hear of the passing of David Koch. He was a compassionate philanthropist, successful businessman, and a proud American. I send my prayers to the Koch family during this difficult time.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 23, 2019
RIP to a man who lived a life of liberty, peace and philanthropy. Great blessings being great responsibility, and David Koch lived that way. His many contributions will have lasting impact on our country. My thoughts are with his family today.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 23, 2019
David Koch, RIP. His 1980 run as the @LPNational vice-presidential candidate was one of the most visionary ever, and he was a benefactor to @reason and many other worthy organizations. Condolences to his family and friends. https://t.co/dTUGEPD0G5 @reason @brianmdoherty
— Nick Gillespie (@nickgillespie) August 23, 2019
The Koch brothers did not support then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, and had said they did not plan to do so in 2020. The Koch brothers and Trump sparred over the issue of free trade and the potential development of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, CNN reported.
In 2018, David Koch stepped down form his post as as executive vice president of Koch Industries and also stepped away from his role as chairman of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
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