Ross Perot, a self-made billionaire, renowned patriot and two-time independent candidate for U.S. president, has died after a five-month battle with leukemia according to his family. He was 89.
He was the pioneer of the computer services industry, who founded Electronic Data Systems Corp. in 1962 and became a multimillionaire when he took EDS public in 1968. He created Perot Systems Corporation 26 years later and sold that to Dell Incorporated for $3.9 billion.
He was just 5-foot-6, but his presence filled a room. Perot's foray into presidential politics made him one of the more colorful political figures of the 1990s. He won 19-percent of the vote in the 1992 presidential election, which saw Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush. Many Republicans blamed Perot for the loss and chances are they were right.
Perot was a champion for veterans’ rights and beyond business, Perot worked on behalf of American POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War and their families. He also organized a rescue of two EDS employees held in an Iranian prison in 1979, in addition to many other philanthropic efforts.
But maybe Perot’s place in history will mainly be that of a successful entrepreneur who thought he could parlay his success into the presidency by going around the main parties’ establishment and appealing directly to the American people. That example obviously didn’t go unnoticed.
He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Margot, who provided that initial loan to form Electronic Data Systems.