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David Koch, billionaire conservative donor, dies at 79

Businessman, prolific political donor, and philanthropist David Koch has died at 79, CBS News and NBC News report.

The death of Koch, who was ranked by Forbes as the 11th richest person in the world in 2019 with a net worth of $42 billion, was confirmed on Friday by his brother, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch, in a statement per CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

Along with his brother Charles, Koch had been an extraordinarily influential conservative political donor and activist for decades. During the 2012 presidential election, the Koch brothers' network spent nearly $400 million, The New York Times reports, and it spent more than $1 billion in the past few elections, NBC News reports. The network earlier this year said it would stay out of the 2020 election.

"With millions of dollars in donations over the years, the Kochs' contribution to today’s Republican Party has been seminal, helping to solidify doctrine that favored businesses and worked against stricter environmental regulations," the Times wrote last year.

Outside of political contributions, Koch also donated more than $1 billion to charity, The Wall Street Journal reports. He served as the Libertarian Party's nominee for vice president during the 1980 presidential election, and The New Yorker in 2018 described him as the "more visible of the brothers."

In June 2018, Koch retired as vice president of Koch Industries due to his "declining health" that was first reported in 2016, reports USA Today. "Unfortunately, these issues have not been resolved, and his health has continued to deteriorate," Charles Koch said upon David's retirement. In his statement on Friday, Charles said that David was given only a few years to live when being diagnosed with prostate cancer 27 years ago.