A huge political player on the right has died: David Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who ran Koch Industries and championed conservative causes, has died at age 79, reports the AP. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David," Charles Koch said in a statement Friday, per NBC News. "Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life." David Koch had stepped back from the energy and chemical company last year because of health issues. He had a net worth of $42.4 billion at his death, which put him at No. 11 in the Forbes world wealth rankings.
In addition to his political causes, funded through the Americans for Prosperity nonprofit, David Koch also was a philanthropist, donating hundreds of millions to medical research (he survived a bout with prostate cancer decades ago), as well as to the arts and educational groups. On the political front, the Koch brothers backed candidates who ascribed to their belief in free markets and limited government interference. (Read more David Koch stories.)