- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2019

Billionaire industrialist David Koch, who influenced conservative politics for decades, has died at age 79, his brother Charles confirmed Friday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David,” Charles Koch said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.”

The brothers have co-owned Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kansas-based energy and chemical company, since 1983. David Koch stepped down from the company last year due to declining health.

His brother noted that David Koch was diagnosed with prostate cancer 27 years ago, although a cause of death was not immediately given.

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. “We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.”

Forbes ranked David Koch last year as the 11th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $51 billion. He was a major philanthropist, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to New York’s Lincoln Center, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and numerous hospitals.

Beginning in the 1980s, the Koch brothers helped to create an influential conservative network of donors and advocacy groups to lobby lawmakers and candidates in favor of libertarian-leaning economic policies.

In 1984, Mr. Koch founded the free-market Citizens for a Sound Economy to advocate for libertarian policies. He also provided initial funding to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity.

Mr. Koch and his brother also have been longtime advocates of prison reform, beginning their work with then-President Barack Obama a decade ago to advocate for better job opportunities for former inmates and reducing recidivism.

He was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president in 1980.

The Koch brothers did not support President Trump for election in 2016. The Koch advocacy network is strongly opposed to the administration’s tariff war with China, although it has backed Mr. Trump on his policies of cutting taxes and regulations.

David’s wife Julia and their three sons said they wanted everyone “to celebrate the life and impact of this most generous and kind man.”

“He believed he had a responsibility to a world that had given him so many opportunities to succeed,” the family said. “David’s philanthropic dedication to education, the arts and cancer research will have a lasting impact on innumerable lives - and that we will cherish forever.”

Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America, with Forbes estimating its annual revenues as high as $110 billion. It owns companies involved in refining, chemicals, biofuels, consumer products, fertilizers and a variety of other interests.

The companies employ nearly 130,000 people worldwide, including about 67,000 in the U.S.

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