Conservative Billionaire David Koch Dies at 79

His older brother Charles confirmed the death in a statement.

Mark Lennihan/AP

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David Koch, the billionaire and major conservative donor, has died at 79. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David,” Charles Koch, his older brother and half co-owner of Koch Industries, confirmed in a statement Friday. “Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life.”

Koch’s health had been deteriorating for some time. In a June 2018 memo sent to Koch Industries employees, it was announced that Koch would be retiring due to declining health. (He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the 1990s.)

The Koch brothers spent decades using their fortune building a vast network of conservative political causes. As we explained when Koch Industries announced his retirement last year:

The brothers have given hundreds of millions of dollars—and convinced other wealthy conservatives to contribute even more—to support think tanks, politically active dark money groups, and academic research, all carefully designed to foster ideological support for conservative and libertarian ideas. 

[…]

David Koch is the most directly political of the pair, having actually run for office himself: In 1980, he ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket, self-financing most of the campaign.

This is a breaking news post. We’ll update as more information is confirmed.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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