David Koch, one of the brothers behind Koch Industries, dies aged 79

Koch attends the U.S. Olympic And Paralympic Foundation Event

Koch attends the U.S. Olympic And Paralympic Foundation Event

He was a generous donor to conservative political causes as well as educational, medical and cultural groups.

Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc. and a long-time philanthropist, has died at age 79.

At the time of his retirement, Koch's net worth was estimated at $42.4 billion, making him the 11th richest person in the world, Forbes reported at the time.

His older brother, Charles, announced the death on Friday, saying, "It is with a heavy heart that I now must inform you of David's death".

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than 20 years ago, but it's unclear if it contributed to his death. "We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result".

The Wichita, Kansas-based firm employs close to 120,000 people in 50 countries and controls well-known brands like Brawny paper towels and Dixie cups.

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Koch was an engineer trained at MIT.

Last summer, he also stepped down from the variety of business and political activities he was involved in, including the Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Chemical Technology and the Americans For Prosperity Foundation charity that largely encompasses the brothers' political work.

In 1980, Koch ran for vice president for the Libertarian Party.

In the obituary published by Koch Industries, Charles recalled his younger brother as having an "insatiable thirst for knowledge" - just like their father.

Koch left behind his wife, Julia, and their three children.

After battling prostate cancer for 20 years, he told a reporter following the 2012 Republican convention that he was thinking about what he will someday leave behind. "David's philanthropic dedication to education, the arts and cancer research will have a lasting impact on innumerable lives - and that we will cherish forever". He gave $100 million to renovate the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, which was renamed for him in 2008.

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