David Koch, the billionaire industrialist known for his libertarian views, political activism, and philanthropy, has passed away at the age of 79. His death was first reported on Twitter by journalist Jane Mayer, who has written extensively about Koch for the New Yorker. David Koch had been in ill-health for some time and stepped away from his business and political operations in June of last year.
Koch Industries confirmed David Koch’s death with Fast Company. Below is a full statement from the company and his brother Charles Koch:
“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. Twenty-seven years ago, David was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given a grim prognosis of a few years to live. David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay. We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.
“In those bountiful years, he married the lovely Julia Flesher, had three exceptional children, while remaining dedicated to the long-term success of Koch Industries. David also made institution changing philanthropic commitments to hospitals, cancer research, education and the arts. The significance of David’s generosity is best captured in the words of Adam Smith, who wrote, ‘to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature.’
“While this is a very sad day for us all, I want you to know that David was proud of the extraordinary work you all have done to make Koch Industries the successful company that it is today. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.”