LAS VEGAS — The chairman and CEO of the Sands casino empire has died.
Sheldon Adelson was 87 years old, The Associated Press reported.
Born in 1933, he was the son of Jewish immigrants, who was raised with two siblings in a Boston tenement, the AP reported.
Adelson’s father was a taxi driver and his mother was a knitting store manager.
Adelson started selling newspapers at the age of 12 on streetcorners in Boston, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
He bought the Sands Hotel in 1989 as a convention space, the AP reported
Adelson was the third-richest man in the world at one point, and was the brains behind the plans to reinvent the Las Vegas Strip, bringing singing gondoliers to Sin City and expanding gambling in Asia.
“If you do things differently, success will follow you like a shadow,” he said in 2014, the AP reported.
Success did follow.
In 2018 he was the 15th-richest man in the world, according to Forbes, with a worth of $35.5 billion.
He didn’t concentrate only on Las Vegas.
Adelson put his money into the political game, and in the final years of his life was considered the nation’s most influential donor to the Republican Party, setting records for individual donations during some elections, the AP reported.
His backing helped make the government’s stance on Israel a cornerstone of the GOP platform and helped push to have President Donald Trump’s administration move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, the AP reported. He paid for congressional trips to Israel and helped build a headquarters for the lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Adelson also donated a record $25 million to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, and started a think tank in Jerusalem.
Despite originally backing Sen. Marco Rubio, he eventually backed Trump, donating $20 million in the last weeks of the 2016 election. He also gave Trump’s transition team $5 million for the inauguration.
He and Trump spoke often, and Trump eventually agreed with Adelson’s hard-line stance in the Middle East, cutting funding for Palestinian refugees and withdrawing from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty with Iran.
Trump awarded Miriam Adelson, the mogul’s second wife, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.
Adelson died from complications related to treatment from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the AP reported.
He had taken a leave of absence from the company last week to resume treatment, CNN reported.
Click here to read more about Adelson’s life and his influence in politics.