Texas Billionaire And Politician, Ross Perot Dead At 89

Ross Perot

Ross Perot

Billionaire, philanthropist and former presidential candidate Ross Perot has died, CBS News has confirmed.

General Motors would later buy a controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion. Perot was diagnosed with leukemia in February and was able to celebrate his 89th birthday in June.

In 1992 Perot ran for president as an Independent candidate and again in 1996 as a third-party candidate.

"Texas and America have lost a strong patriot", former President George W. Bush, the son of Perot's 1992 GOP opponent, said Tuesday. Although Perot did not win a single Electoral College vote, he was the most successful third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.

Aside from his business and political careers, Perot also received national attention for his efforts during the Vietnam War to create better conditions for United States prisoners of war. He traveled to Laos, where he met with ambassadors from Russian Federation and North Vietnam, and was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Public Service by the Department of Defense in 1974 for his efforts.

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Aside from business and politics, Perot advocated for American POWs in Vietnam, financed a rescue mission in Iran when two of his employees were imprisoned after a contract dispute, and engaged in various humanitarian projects. They called him a true American patriot and a man of rare vision, princible, and deep compassion. "Ross was tough, smart, practical, loved to negotiate".

Perot, a Texas native, is survived by his wife, Margot, as well as five children and 16 grandchildren, according to CNBC. In his 89 years on earth, he lived the American dream to the fullest.

Disenchanted that his bosses did not like his ideas, Perot started his own company, Electronic Data Systems Inc in Dallas, a move that would make him a billionaire by age 38 by handling data processing for customers such as the Medicare system, NASA and other government entities.

Perot was featured on the 1968 cover of Fortune Magazine as the "fastest, richest Texan". He was shut out of presidential debates when organizers said he lacked sufficient support. Perot's credibility took a major hit after he temporarily dropped out of the race in July, and he never regained his previous levels of support despite eventually reentering the race.

But he later re-entered the race in October. "After a long meeting, Mr. Perot told me that if I could raise $1.5 million, he would give the remaining $500,000".

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