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Billionaire conservative donor Richard Mellon Scaife dies, 82

05 july 2014, 14:31
Richard Mellon Scaife. Photo courtesy of article.wn.com
Richard Mellon Scaife. Photo courtesy of article.wn.com

Richard Mellon Scaife, a generous donor to US conservative causes and heir to a sizeable banking fortune, died, AFP reports according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper that he owned. He was 82.

In a column that appeared in the publication in May, Scaife said he suffered from "an untreatable form of cancer".

"Some who dislike me may rejoice at this news. Naturally, I can't share their enthusiasm," he wrote.

Conservatives across the country paid tribute to Scaife on Friday, with Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich writing on Twitter that the billionaire was "a remarkable patriot, philanthropist and conservative activist. His passing today is a great loss to America".

Current House Speaker John Boehner, also a Republican, tweeted "RIP Dick Scaife. Great newspaperman. Set the highest standard. True patriot for first principles we honor today".

Scaife's long list of causes included bankrolling investigations into Bill and Hillary Clinton, among them a probe into sex scandals that ultimately led to President Clinton's impeachment.

A Pittsburgh native described by US media as withdrawn, Scaife possessed a $1.45 billion fortune, according to Forbes magazine.

He gave $1 million for the re-election of former president Richard Nixon, reports said, and was an ardent backer of former president Ronald Reagan.

Scaife donated freely to conservative think tanks and institutes, in addition to a spate of museums and other less polarizing causes. He also purchased several newspapers, including The Tribune-Review.

Scaife's uncle was the famed banker and industrialist Andrew Mellon. His father was the scion of a major Pittsburgh steel family.

He is survived by a daughter, a son and two grandchildren, The Tribune-Review said.

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