Las Vegas Sands CEO, Republican Megadonor Sheldon Adelson Dies At 87

Sheldon Adelson died at his Las Vegas home Monday night at the age of 87. Best known for serving as CEO and chairman of the casino empire Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS, Adelson was also known for his philanthropy, support of Israel and major contributions to Republican politicians. 

The cause of Adelson's death was complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

A Hard Worker: Adelson learned the importance of hard work when he was 12 years old. He borrowed $200 — around $2,900 today — from a family member to buy a license to sell newspapers in Boston. Four years later, he borrowed $10,000 and started a candy vending machine business.

Adelson went on to join the Army after attending college and trade school but wasn't able to graduate.

Building An Empire: Adelson and business partners created the COMDEX trade shows in 1979, which were the most elite computer trade show through the 1990s. The business was sold to SoftBank in 1995 for $862 million, and Adelson's share was more than $500 million.

Separately, Adelson and his partners bought the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1988. He opened the Venetian hotel in 1999.

The casino empire expanded internationally when his gaming property opened in Macau in May 2004. Within one year, his $265-million investment in the first Las Vegas-style casino in the Chinese hub was recouped.

The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on Cotai was opened in 2007 and the Singapore Marina Bay opened in 2010.

At the time of his passing, Adelson's casino empire stands at nine properties. Throughout his entire business career, he created, acquired or developed more than 50 different companies.

Adelson and his wife were the largest donors to President Donald Trump, according to Axios, and he had donated more than $250 million to GOP candidates and super PACs since 2015, the publication said. 

Philanthropy: The Adelson Foundation was established in 2007 by Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson. The foundation presented tens of millions of dollars to medical causes, including $50 million to establish the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas and $67 million toward medical research.

Other charitable ventures include supporting drug abuse programs.

Adelson also donated to many Jewish causes, including millions to the Birthright Israel Foundation, an educational organization that sponsors free 10-day trips for Jewish youths to visit Israel.

Adelson's Funeral: Adelson will be buried in Israel and a memorial service in Las Vegas will take place at a later date. He is survived by his wife, Miriam.

"To me, Sheldon had power and depth and mystery like the sea," she said in a press release. "His devotion lifted me up, like waves, through challenges both personal and professional," she said. 

"And now he is gone. The supporting waters have vanished heavenward. Only a vast, dry seabed remains. The loss is colossal."

Sheldon Adelson, left, with President Donald trump and Miriam Adelson at the Israeli American Council National Summit on Dec. 7, 2019. White House photo. 

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