Sheldon Adelson Dies at Age 87
Republican megadonor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson died Monday evening. His passing came just days after taking a leave of absence from his position as CEO of Las Vegas Sands. He was going to resume treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Adelson is a rare example of the American Dream. He grew up with poor, Lithuanian immigrants in Boston to become one of the richest men in the world. Last September, Forbes estimated his wealth at $33.5 billion.
Adelson spent much of his money in support of the Republican Party. He earned the moniker “GOP kingmaker.” Adelson and his wife Miriam (an Israeli-born doctor) donated hundreds of millions to super PACs throughout their lives. They gave more than $215 million during the past two years.
Adelson was a Trump supporter from the beginning. He urged the Republican Party to unite behind the brash, real estate tycoon before he was the presidential nominee. “You may not like Trump’s style or what he says on Twitter, but this country needs strong executive leadership more today than at almost any point in its history,” wrote Adelson in 2016.
Adelson and his wife contributed $30 million to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. They gave $5 million to his inaugural committee and $100 million to GOP candidates during the 2018 midterms. They also donated heavily to Trump’s defense fund during the Mueller investigation. And they added $75 million to his failed re-election bid in 2020.
Additionally, the Adelsons donated regularly to the Birthright Israel Foundation, which provides trips to Israel for Jews living in America. They also founded the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which funds research into cancer, immunologic diseases, and neural diseases.
Adelson was a staunch ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was also the owner of the nation’s largest daily newspaper, Israel Hayom. As a reward for his political donations, he got a front-row seat to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem in 2018. Later that year, Miriam Adelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work to support medical research and Jewish causes.
“Many, many among the Jewish people, in the State of Israel, and in the whole world, share in this heavy mourning,” said the Israeli Prime Minister. “Sheldon’s great efforts to strengthen Israel’s position in the US and to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora will be remembered for generations.”
Adelson also transformed the Las Vegas strip with his idea to combine convention centers and casinos. His vision “transformed the industry, changed the trajectory of the company he founded, and reimagined tourism” in Las Vegas, Macao, and Singapore, said his company in a statement.
“Sheldon was the love of my life. He was my partner in romance, philanthropy, political activism, and enterprise. He was my soulmate,” wrote Miriam. “To me – as to his children, grandchildren, and his legions of friends and admirers, employees, and colleagues – he is utterly irreplaceable.”
Adelson’s funeral will be held in Israel followed by a memorial service in Las Vegas, where he operated the Venetian and Palazzo casinos. Before his death, Adelson told a reporter that he wants to ‘be remembered for helping out humanity.’