David Koch Dies; Billionaire Businessman, Philanthropist Was 79

NEW YORK — David H. Koch, the multibillionaire businessman, philanthropist and conservative donor, has died at 79. Koch Industries, the massive corporation he owned with his brother, Charles, confirmed his death Friday, saying it followed a yearslong battle with various illnesses.

“It is with a heavy heart that I now must inform you of David’s death,” Charles Koch said, according to the Associated Press.

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With a net worth of $50.5 billion, David Koch was one of New York City’s wealthiest residents and a major donor to many prominent local institutions. His name is emblazoned on a theater at Lincoln Center and a plaza outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He reportedly owned a mansion on the Upper East Side for which he paid about $40 million last year.

Koch, along with his brother, was a driving force of Koch Industries, the United States’s second-largest privately held corporation. With revenues of $110 billion, the Kansas-based conglomerate has a large portfolio that includes oil, fertilizer, toilet paper and paper cups.

The Koch brothers —who tied at No. 11 this year on Forbes’s list of the richest people in the world — also formed one of the most powerful partnerships in American politics.

David Koch was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president in 1980 and along with Charles founded Americans for Prosperity, a political nonprofit that supported small-government candidates and policies.

Americans for Prosperity was credited with helping Republicans take control of Congress under President Barack Obama and turning the right-wing Tea Party movement into a blistering force that reshaped the GOP.

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