Casino mogul and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson dies at 87

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson at The Palazzo Las Vegas, his newest casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, January 8, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Bob Riha Jr | Archive Photos | Getty ImagesSheldon Adelson, the multibillionaire casino mogul and Republican Party megadonor, has died at age 87.Adelson died from complications related to treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a statement Tuesday from Las Vegas Sands, the casino and resort company he owned.Adelson, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $33 billion, had been among the most-watched donors supporting President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection effort. He was also a stalwart supporter of Israel, maintaining a close friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu until recently.His funeral will be held in Israel, and a memorial service in Las Vegas is planned for a later date.”It is with unbearable pain that I announce the death of my husband, Sheldon G. Adelson, of complications from a long illness,” Miriam Adelson, 75, said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is owned by the Adelsons. “To me — as to his children, grandchildren, and his legions of friends and admirers, employees and colleagues — he is utterly irreplaceable.”Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam listen to U.S. President Donald Trump address the Republican Jewish Coalition 2019 Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., April 6, 2019.Kevin Lamarque | ReutersAdelson, whose name is pronounced add’-el-son, gave tens of millions of dollars to support Republican presidential hopefuls in 2012, including to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.A recipient of Adelson donations, former President George W. Bush, called the casino mogul “an American patriot.””Sheldon was a generous benefactor of charitable causes, especially medical research and Jewish heritage education. He will be missed by many — none more than his beloved family,” Bush said.Adelson was raised in Boston. The son of a taxi driver and a knitting shop owner, he made his first foray into business at age 12 selling newspapers on street corners.Years later, he became owner of newspapers: the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the only major newspaper to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, and Israel Hayom.Starting in the late 1980s, Adelson moved into the casino business, purchasing the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for $128 million. The purchase would launch Las Vegas Sands as a global resort brand, boasting properties in the U.S. and Asia.Its most recent construction is the Parisian Macao, a luxury hotel fitted with a half-scale copy of the Eiffel Tower, located in Macao, China.The company says it employs more than 51,000 people worldwide. It’s the only U.S.-based casino company that has not laid off employees during the coronavirus pandemic.Last week, the Sands’ board of directors named Rob Goldstein acting CEO, following Adelson’s announcement that he would take a leave of absence as he sought medical treatment.Adelson and his wife have combined to be the top campaign donors in the past two election cycles, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.All of their contributions went to Republican candidates, including efforts supporting Trump.Between the 2018 and 2020 cycle, the couple gave over $340 million to GOP causes. Late in the 2020 presidential race, the Adelsons gave at least $90 million to the pro-Trump super PAC Preserve America.Despite having, at times, apparent tensions with Trump, Adelson remained one of the president’s biggest financial supporters in the 2020 election. The New York Times reported in August that Trump called up Adelson to berate him for not backing his bid for reelection.— CNBC’s Contessa Brewer contributed to this report.

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