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Texas Billionaire, GOP Supporter Harold Simmons Dies At 82

DALLAS (December 30, 2013) Dallas billionaire philanthropist and GOP political donor Harold Simmons, who gave millions of dollars to Republican candidates, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has died at 82.

Simmons, the son of two school teachers in East Texas, became one of the richest men in the country with interests ranging from energy to chemicals.

A spokesman for Simmons, Chuck McDonald, says Simmons died Saturday in Dallas.

He said he did not know the cause of death.

Simmons' wife, Annette Simmons, told The Dallas Morning News her husband died at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

“Harold Simmons was a true Texas giant, rising from humble beginnings and seizing the limitless opportunity for success we so deeply cherish in our great state,” Perry said in a statement.

“His legacy of hard work and giving, particularly to his beloved University of Texas, will live on for generations.”

Over the years, Simmons donated tens of millions of dollars, including to charities, education groups and a Dallas medical center.

Meanwhile, Houston oil magnate and philanthropist Jack S. Blanton died Saturday at his vacation home in Galveston at the age of 86, his son-in-law, Peter Wareing, said.

The Shreveport, La., native received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas and then started working at the Scurlock Oil Company in Houston, rising to chairman.

He was also president of Eddy Refining Company.

The Blanton Museum of Art at the university is named in his honor after a $12 million gift from Houston Endowment, Inc.

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