Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, died at the age of 87 due to complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. His death comes one week after he took a leave of absence from Sands to undergo cancer treatments.
He was one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of more than $35 billion. Adelson's big break came when he bought the computer trade show called Comdex and held in Las Vegas in the 1970s. He would eventually sell the trade show for nearly $1 billion and became one of the wealthiest casino moguls in the world. He built the now-iconic Venetian Hotel and Casino and helped transform the city into a mecca of entertainment that catered to more than just gamblers.
"I think if you had to single out one individual who brought that kind of component to the city, it would be Sheldon Adelson," Sig Rogich, a longtime Las Vegas communications consultant, told NPR. "He was a transformational figure in Las Vegas history."
He donated hundreds of millions of dollars of his fortune, taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling to funnel money to Super PACs that supported Republican candidates and causes. During the 2020 election, Adelson and his wife gave $215 million to federal super PACs and became one of the first and most prominent GOP donors to support President Donald Trump's campaign.
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