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David Koch, billionaire businessman and influential GOP donor, dies

NEW YORK — Conservative billionaire David Koch, who became a household name through the policy and political empire he created with his older brother, Charles, has died. He was 79.

Charles Koch, the CEO of the family’s industrial conglomerate Koch Industries, announced the death Friday.

“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,” the elder Koch said in a statement.

David Koch retired from the company and the Koch political operations in 2018, citing health reasons.

Together with his older brother, Charles, the Kochs were best known for a vast political network they built that became popularly known as the “Kochtopus” for its far-reaching tentacles in support of conservative causes.

The brothers founded the anti-tax, small government group Americans for Prosperity.

Koch was an engineer trained at MIT. He joined Koch Industries in 1970 and serves on its board. He was chief executive officer of Koch Chemical Technology Group, a Koch subsidiary.

Charles and David Koch, each with an estimated net worth of $31 billion, tied in fourth place in 2012 on Forbes 500 list of the nation’s richest men.

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