Billionaire David Koch, one of the right’s biggest financial backers, has died at 79.
Koch, who made it big after founding chemical company Koch Industries with his brother, poured billions into conservative and libertarian political candidates and causes over the last forty years.
On Friday morning, David’s brother, Charles, released a note saying, “It is with a heavy heart that I now must inform you of David’s death.”
According to NBC:
David Koch, who lived in New York City, was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate in 1980. He was a generous donor to conservative political causes as well as educational, medical and cultural groups.
The Koch brothers were best known for a vast political network they built that became popularly known as the “Kochtopus” for its far-reaching tentacles in support of conservative causes. The brothers founded the anti-tax, small government group Americans for Prosperity.
“I was taught from a young age that involvement in the public discourse is a civic duty,” David Koch wrote in 2012. “Each of us has a right— indeed, a responsibility, at times — to make his or her views known to the larger community in order to better form it as a whole. While we may not always get what we want, the exchange of ideas betters the nation in the process.”
David Koch did not support President Trump’s election (or his re-election effort), however, Koch has praised Trump’s efforts to cut regulations.
Koch has been battling prostate cancer for 20 years.
Koch did not spend his considerable dollars only on politics.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has a wing dedicated in his name focused on human evolution over 6 million years. Koch donated $15 million to fund the 15,000 square-foot hall.
“The program has the power to influence the way we view our identity as humans, not only today, but for generations to come,” he said at the time.
His funding of cancer research is also a huge boost for medical science.
David Koch leaves behind his wife, Julia, and his three children.
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