- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Al Austin, a prominent Tampa real estate developer and Republican fundraiser, has died at his home. He was 85.

Austin’s son-in-law, Nelson Guagliardo, says Austin died of an apparent heart attack early Thursday morning. Guagliardo says Austin’s death was unexpected, as Austin had appeared to be in good health up to the day before his passing.

The former state Republican Party finance chairman was considered to be the driving force behind bringing the 2012 Republican National Convention to Tampa. He also led a fundraising campaign for the expansion of the University of Tampa and chaired that Tampa Airport Authority.

As a developer, Austin was heavily involved in the growth of Tampa’s West Shore area.

Austin is survived by his wife, Beverly, and two daughters.