Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, dies at age 89

PHOTO: Presidential candidate Ross Perot speaks during a 1992 presidential debate.PlayWally Mcnamee/Corbis via Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, dies at age 89

Businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot has died.

He was 89 years old.

Family spokesperson James Fuller confirmed Perot died Tuesday of leukemia after a “great, wonderful, fast-moving life.” Perot was diagnosed with leukemia five months ago, in February, Fuller said.

"With deep sadness, I am letting you know that Mr. Perot passed away early Tuesday at his home, surrounded by his family," Fuller said in a statement.

"Mr. Perot was a true patriot and a dedicated humanitarian. He will be missed greatly," Fuller said.

He is survived by his wife Margot and their five children.

PHOTO: American industrialist Ross Perot is pictured, circa 1996. MPI/Getty Images
American industrialist Ross Perot is pictured, circa 1996.

"Family, friends, and associates are encouraged to honor Mr. Perot’s memory by continuing to support his commitment to these organizations: Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, North Texas Food Bank, Salvation Army DFW, Teach for America: Dallas/ Fort Worth, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Visiting Nurses Association of Dallas," Fuller said in the statement.

The billionaire businessman became a household name due to his role as a third party candidate in the 1992 and 1996 presidential races.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Bill Clinton, left, Independent Ross Perot and President George Bush shake hands with the panelists following their third presidential debate at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., Oct. 19, 1992. Doug Mills/AP, FILE
Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Bill Clinton, left, Independent Ross Perot and President George Bush shake hands with the panelists following their third presidential debate at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., Oct. 19, 1992.

According to Forbes' latest available data, Perot was worth $4.1 billion at the time of his death.

Early in his life, he served in the Navy, before returning home and making the treatment of veterans and prisoners of war a part of his later activism work.

He made his billions through his computer systems work, starting his career at IBM before leaving to found Electronic Data Systems, an information technology and services company.

His most notable foray into politics started with his 1992 presidential bid, when he ran as an independent candidate against then-President George H. W. Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton.

PHOTO: Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot delivers his concession speech to the crowd gathered on Nov. 3, 1992, at his election night headquarters after Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidential election. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot delivers his concession speech to the crowd gathered on Nov. 3, 1992, at his election night headquarters after Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidential election.

He tried again in 1996, running as the creator of the Reform Party, winning 8.4% of the vote when he faced off against then-President Clinton and Republican challenger Bob Dole.

Fellow Texan and former President George W. Bush released a statement of condolences.

"Texas and America have lost a strong patriot. Ross Perot epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit and the American creed. He gave selflessly of his time and resources to help others in our community, across our country, and around the world. He loved the U.S. military and supported our service members and veterans. Most importantly, he loved his dear wife, children, and grandchildren. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Perot family as they celebrate a full life," Bush said in his statement.

         
              
                     
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The Dallas Morning News quotes Perot's son Ross Perot Jr. as describing his father as "obviously a great family man, wonderful father. But at the end of the day, he was a wonderful humanitarian."

"Every day he came to work trying to figure out how he could help somebody," Ross Perot Jr. said of his dad, according to The Dallas Morning News.