David Koch, conservative donor and philanthropist, has died at age 79

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FILE – In this Aug. 30, 2013 file photo, David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla. Koch, major donor to conservative causes and educational groups, has died on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. He was 79. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

(CBS).– Billionaire conservative icon David Koch has died at age 79, CBS News has confirmed, according to a source close to the Koch family. The New York resident was suffering from deteriorating health as of late, according to a letter Koch’s older brother Charles Koch sent to company officials last summer.

He wrote at the time: “We are deeply saddened by this, as we miss David’s insightful questions and his many contributions to Koch Industries.”

Charles Koch released a statement on his brother’s passing, saying he will be “greatly missed, but never forgotten.”

“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,” the Koch brother eulogized.

David Koch had recently stepped down from the brothers’ network of business and political activities. They have long been involved in supporting the Republican Party and criticized by Democrats for their outsized influence in conservative politics.

The brothers declined to spend anything on the last presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. David Koch was less so involved in politics than his brother and more known for his philanthropy to education and the arts, particularly ballet. He gave $100 million to renovate the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, which was renamed for him in 2008.

Koch was also committed millions to various hospitals for cancer research.

Quoting the pioneer of political economy, Charles Koch said 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.'”

This is a developing story.

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