Ross Perot has passed away. Perot was best-known for his two third-party presidential campaigns in the 1990s.
Perot, who was also a Texas billionaire tycoon, died Tuesday. The Perot family spokesman, James Fuller, confirmed to CNN.
He was 89 at the time of his passing. Perot died after a five-month battle with leukemia, Fuller said.
Perot was a self-made billionaire by the time he reached his mid-50s. He made his fortune by selling a controlling interest in the data processing business he founded, Electronic Data Systems Corporation, to General Motors for $2.5 billion, according to CNN.
After he sold the business, he turned his eye to politics. Although he was never elected president, Perot's political career is one of note.
Perot mounted one of the most successful third-party presidential candidacies in US history in 1992. Perot won nearly 19% of the vote and finished third behind Bill Clinton and incumbent President George H.W. Bush. This is the largest margin of the vote that had been won by a third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt ran for president in 1912 as the Bull Moose Party candidate.
In his campaign, Perot challenged Clinton and Bush's support of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He argued the treaty would cause the loss of American jobs.
After Perot's passing, George W. Bush released a statement about his father's political adversary. He celebrated the life of a fellow Texan.
He wrote, "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 continued, "He loved the U.S. militia 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," concluded the statement.
In 1995, he created the Reform Party. The following year, he received 8% of the vote in the presidential election as the party's candidate.
In addition to his political fame, Perot also received national attention for his efforts during the Vietnam War to create better conditions for US prisoners of war. The businessman traveled to Laos to meet with ambassadors from Russia and North Vietnam.
He was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Public Service by the Department of Defense in 1974 for his efforts. In 1979, when two EDS employees were taken hostage during a revolution in Iran, he organized and paid for a successful private mission to rescue the men and bring them home.
"In business and in life, Ross was a man of integrity and action. A true American patriot and a man of rare vision, principle and deep compassion, he touched the lives of countless people through his unwavering support of the military and veterans and through his charitable endeavors," Fuller said in a statement. "Ross Perot will be deeply missed by all who loved him. He lived a long and honorable life."
Please join us in praying for the family of Ross Perot. May God be with them in their sorrow.