Jon Huntsman Sr. dies at 80
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Jon Huntsman Sr., a billionaire philanthropist and a former aide to President Nixon, died on Friday at the age of 80.

Huntsman "passed away peacefully" early Friday afternoon "surrounded by a loving family, following long-term health challenges," the family said in a statement obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune

Born into poverty, Huntsman became the founder and executive chairman of the Huntsman Corp., a $13 billion chemical manufacturer. Huntsman was for a long time Utah's wealthiest resident, according to the Tribune.


Huntsman also served in the White House as the staff secretary to Nixon. His son, former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., was appointed last year as the Trump administration's ambassador to Russia.

From his successful business, the elder Huntsman became a well-renowned philanthropist, funneling money into cancer research, including donating or committing at least $580 million over the years into his own Huntsman Cancer Institute, now run by his children, according to the Tribune.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love MORE, a fellow Mormon widely expected to launch a Senate bid later this month to replace retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOrrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Utah Senate votes to scale back Medicaid expansion | Virginia abortion bill reignites debate | Grassley invites drug execs to testify | Conservative groups push back on e-cig crackdown MORE (R-Utah), remembered Huntsman as a "Lion of Utah" on Friday. 

"With Jon Huntsman’s passing, we lose a Lion of Utah. Jon raised an extraordinary family, built one of America’s most prominent corporations, and contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to heal the sick, provide relief to the injured, and bring hope to future generations," Romney said in a statement.

Hatch, 83, also expressed his condolences on Friday, calling Huntsman a "committed public servant, a visionary businessman, and perhaps the greatest philanthropist our state has ever known."