Texas billionaire GOP donor dies at 82

A Texas billionaire who has donated millions of dollars to Republicans has died.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) confirmed the death of Harold Simmons, who died Saturday at the age of 82.

“Harold Simmons was a true Texas giant, rising from humble beginnings and seizing the limitless opportunity for success we so deeply cherish in our great state. His legacy of hard work and giving, particularly to his beloved University of Texas, will live on for generations. Anita and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Simmons family,” Perry said in a statement Sunday.

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Simmons’s wife told The Dallas Morning News her husband had been “very sick for the last two weeks,” but did not specify a cause of death.

The billionaire donor spent $80,000 on Republican causes this year, and gave $25 million to GOP candidates last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Simmons, along with Perry, were responsible for the Swift Boat Veterans ads during the 2004 presidential election. The ad campaign questioned the war record of then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (D-Mass.) during his time in the Navy in the Vietnam War.

In 2010, Simmons’s charity, the Harold Simmons Foundation, provided funding to causes that most conservatives oppose, Reuters reports. He donated thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting.