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David Koch, billionaire conservative and philanthropist, dies at 79


David Koch, a businessman and philanthropist, has died at 79. (Lars Niki/Getty Images for United States Olympic Committee)

David Koch, a wealthy conservative megadonor, businessman and philanthropist, has died at 79, according to multiple reports.

The cause of death was not immediately known although Koch was diagnosed with cancer nearly two decades ago.

Jane Mayer, a New Yorker reporter, broke the news of his death on Twitter.

Known with his older brother, Charles, as the Koch brothers, David Koch was a key funder of conservative political causes and Republican politicians.

He was also one of the wealthiest men in the world with a fortune once estimated at more than $50 billion.

David Koch and his brother founded Koch Industries, one of the world’s largest privately held companies. The younger Koch reportedly stepped down from the company last year due to deteriorating health.

David Koch held libertarian views and ran for vice president in 1980 on a Libertarian Party ticket. Despite his conservative political stances, Koch considered himself a social liberal and favored abortion rights and gay rights.