Ross Perot, billionaire third-party presidential candidate, has died

Billionaire and former US presidential candidate Ross Perot dies

Ross Perot, billionaire and third-party presidential candidate dies at 89

Ross Perot, the self-made billionaire who ran for president in 1992 as an independent and pulled in almost 20 million votes, has died after a battle with leukemia.

Perot had leukemia, Dallas News reported, saying the illness was diagnosed in February. He earned his billions in a more modern way, however - by building Electronic Data Systems Corp., which helped other companies manage their computer networks.

Democrat Bill Clinton won the three-way race, in which Mr Perot took nearly 19% of the vote. But Perot never recovered: He received almost 19 percent of the vote but not a single Electoral College vote in 1992.

His unconventional candidacy, announced on a U.S. talk show, straddled the line between entertainment and politics and contributed to the defeat of incumbent Republican President George HW Bush.

Perot rose to the political fore in 1992 when he ran a wildly successful presidential campaign as an independent.

In 1984, GM bought controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion ($5.9 billion today, adjusted for inflation), making Perot a billionaire.

In 1962, with 1,000 United States dollars from his wife, Margot, Perot founded Electronic Data Systems.

He eventually re-entered the race, but his reputation had suffered.

Perot was featured on the 1968 cover of Fortune Magazine as the "fastest, richest Texan". "But more than that, what we are really pleased with was the outstanding turnout in the election and we think Ross Perot was responsible for that".

In 1988, Perot, his son Ross Perot Jr., and a handful of former key EDS employees launched Perot Systems.

"He was a brilliant businessman, a true American patriot, and a generous philanthropist". Though he remained silent on political issues in his later years, Perot was an outspoken activist for military veterans for much of his life, lobbying politicians to bring home prisoners of war he believed were left behind in Vietnam, and later advocating for Gulf War veterans.

"To do as well as we did was really remarkable", Perot counsel Clayton Mulford said. The resulting rescue was retold in a book by Ken Follett, which became a 1986 mini-series called On Wings of Eagles.

While Trump found himself in the late summer of 2016 dumping Paul Manafort and installing Kellyanne Conway as his campaign manager, Perot fired his ad maker, which led to a major strategist quitting the campaign. He was given many honorary degrees and awards for business success and patriotism. Perot told a visiting reporter that he tried to live by Rockwell's ethics of hard, honest work and family.

Perot, like Trump, also demanded in 1996 that American allies pay more for common defense around the world.

Perot is survived by his wife and his five children, as well as numerous grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

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