Conservative billionaire activist and philanthropist David Koch has died at age 79.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life,” Charles Koch, the CEO of the family’s Kansas-based energy and chemical conglomerate Koch Industries, announced in a statement Friday.
The statement did not cite a cause of death but noted David Koch’s decades-old battle with prostate cancer.
David and Charles were tied as the 11th richest in the world this year in a ranking by Forbes.
At the time of his death, David Koch was worth $42.4 billion.
Using their vast wealth, the Koch brothers helped to build a massive conservative network of donors for think tanks, foundations and political groups that work to mobilize voters and sway elected officials in support of libertarian-leaning economic policies.
The network, led by the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, spent more than $1 billion over the past several election cycles to support candidates who adhere to their free-market, small-government, libertarian ideals.
“In some elections, the Koch network rivaled the spending and scope of the national Republican Party, and analysts view their activism as helping to have fueled the Tea Party movement,” CNN reported.
David Koch donated hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research.