Billionaire Casino Owner Sheldon Adelson, GOP Benefactor, Dies at 87

MALIBU (CNS) - Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas casino owner and mega-Republican donor who was estimated to be the 19th richest person in the United States, died in Malibu on Monday at the age of 87, according to multiple reports.

Las Vegas Sands announced Adelson's death in a statement early Tuesday.

“Our founder and visionary leader, Sheldon G. Adelson, passed away last night at the age of 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma,'' the statement said. “Born to immigrant parents and raised in a poor section of Boston, Mr. Adelson went from a teenager selling newspapers on a street corner to becoming one of the world's most successful entrepreneurs.

“His achievements in the integrated resort and hospitality industry are well-documented. In Las Vegas, Macao and Singapore, Mr. Adelson's vision for integrated resorts transformed the industry, changed the trajectory of the company he founded, and reimagined tourism in each of those markets. His impact on the industry will be everlasting.''

The Las Vegas Review Journal and the Washington Post both reported that Adelson died at his home in Malibu.

Adelson was one of the most influential behind-the-scenes power brokers in Republican Party circles, using his enormous donations to lobby for conservative policies, especially encouraging U.S. leaders to support the hardline policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Donald Trump issued a statement saying Adelson "lived the true American dream.''

 "His ingenuity, genius and creativity earned him immense wealth, but his character and philanthropic generosity his great name,'' Trump said. "Sheldon was also a staunch supporter of our great ally the state of Israel. he tirelessly advocated for the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors.

"Sheldon was true to his family, his country and all those that knew him. The world has lost a great man. He will be missed,'' Trump said.

In addition to his political donations, Adelson has given hundreds of millions of dollars to Jewish charities over the years.

His fortune was estimated at $29.8 billion by Forbes magazine in 2019.

Adelson embodied the transformation of Las Vegas from its 1950s-70s heyday to a new era of mega-casinos and resorts. He purchased the original Sands hotel on the Vegas Strip and had it demolished. His company later built the Venetian Las Vegas, an opulent, Renaissance-style report that features gondoliers skimming down a faux-Grand Canal.

Las Vegas Sands said a funeral will be held in Israel, the birthplace of Adelson's wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, with plans for a memorial service in Las Vegas to be announced at a later date.

Photo: Getty Images

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