Billionaire industrialist and philanthropist David Koch, known for funding for a range of conservative and libertarian political activism groups, passed away on Friday at the age of 79.
Though few details of his death have been provided to the public, Koch’s health had been declining in recent years, and it is possible that he finally succumbed to the prostate cancer with which he had been diagnosed nearly three decades ago.
Family in mourning
The Washington Examiner reported that Koch is survived by his 83-year-old brother Charles, his wife Julia and their three children, all of whom are mourning the loss of a man who played a monumental role in their lives, as well as the lives of countless others around the globe.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David,” Charles Koch said in a statement on Friday. “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,” he continued.
“We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result,” Koch added.
David Koch’s wife Julia added, “While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart.”
“His stories of childhood adventures enlivened our family dinners; his endless knowledge rendered him our ‘walking Google.’ His sensitive heart had him shed a tear at the beauty of his daughter’s ballet, and beam with pride when his son beat him at chess. We will miss the fifth link in our family,” she added.
Koch’s health had reportedly been in noticeable decline in recent years, and while he was initially resistant to calls for him to step down from his role as executive vice president at Koch Industries, he eventually retired in 2018, at which time he also stepped down from the board of the Koch political activism arm, Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
Though David and Charles Koch have always been socially liberal and fiscally conservative in their leanings, they became known for supporting the Republican Party and affiliated activist groups in their quest for a smaller and more financially responsible federal government. Notably, however, the Koch brothers’ donor network did not support then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 and had no plans to support his re-election bid in 2020.
Perhaps more important than his funding of right-leaning political activism, Koch was also a generous philanthropist who reportedly donated more than a billion dollars of his own wealth to a variety of non-political causes, particularly in the area of cancer research.
Americans have suffered a great loss alongside the Koch family, as a truly compassionate man who worked diligently to make this country and indeed the entire world a better place is no longer with us, and he will most assuredly be missed by many.