Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire friend to Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87 after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Born to immigrant parents and raised in a poor section of Boston, he had a net worth of $35.6 billion as the founder of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, making him the 28th-richest person in the world and 17th in Forbes 400. He purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for $128 million in 1989 and is credited with transforming the city into a top convention destination.
“Mr. Adelson was the first employee of Las Vegas Sands – “Team Member Number One” he liked to say. Today, more than 50,000 Sands team members have Dr. Adelson and the entire Adelson family in their thoughts and prayers and are grateful to have had their lives touched by a true force of nature,” according to a statement from Las Vegas Sands.
Originally an ardent Democrat, Adelson underwent a personal political shift in the 1990s. Adelson donated more than $430 million to conservatives in the 2020 elections, $525 million to federal political campaigns and committees since 2010, and was believed to be President Trump’s largest donor.
He was a fierce advocate for Israel, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli causes, and owned the Israel Hayom daily newspaper and Makor Rishon weekly.
“He was the proudest of Jews, who saw in the State of Israel not only the realization of a historical promise to a unique and deserving people but also a gift from the Almighty to all of humanity,” his wife noted in the press release announcing his death.
Adelson is survived by his Israeli wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, and five children.
“Sheldon was the love of my life. He was my partner in romance, philanthropy, political activism and enterprise. He was my soulmate,” she wrote in a press release announcing his death.
The funeral will be held in Israel and a memorial service will be held in Las Vegas.