Friday, August 23, 2019
David H. Koch, the billionaire that helped reshape American politics with a particular brand of libertarianism, has died at the age of 79 at him home in Manhattan. His death was announced by his younger brother and business partner Charles Koch, which noted that David Koch had been treated for prostate cancer in 27 years ago.
Koch was one of the word's richest men, with assets of $42.2 billion in 2019 and a 42% stake in the global family enterprise, Koch Industries. He was a known philanthropist with more than $1.2 billion in charitable gifts and the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president in 1980. David and Charles also helped give rise to the Tea Party movement and strengthened the far-right wing of a resurgent Republican Party, though he claimed to have never attended a Tea Party event. The Koch brothers also had personal and political differences with President Donald Trump, primarily restrictive trade and immigration policies as divisive. Charles threatened to withhold the family’s support for Republican candidates who opposed the free-trade, government-shrinking policies at the heart of the Koch political philosophy.
David had palatial homes on Park Avenue in Manhattan and in Southampton, N.Y., Aspen, Colorado, and Palm Beach, Florida. He also kept a yacht in the Mediterranean for summer getaways and rented it out for an astounding $500,000 a week. His friends and acquaintances included Bill and Melinda Gates, Prince Charles and Winston Churchill’s grandson Winston Spencer Churchill.
In his earlier days, his grandiose 6'5" height helped him earn the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's basketball team's single-game scoring record of 41 points. David Hamilton Koch was born in Wichita, Kansas on May 3, 1940, the third of four sons of Fred Chase Koch and the former Mary Clementine Robinson. His brothers are Frederick, seven years older; Charles, five years older, and David’s twin, William. His father died in 1967 and his sons inherited significant stakes in the oil company he had created.
See Robert D. McFadden, David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79, New York Times, August 23, 2019.