Ross Perot, Famed Businessman and Former Presidential Candidate, Dead at 89; Passed Away After Just Five-Month Battle with Leukemia

Perot with a portrait of George Washington in his Dallas office in 1986. Perot was the founder and former chief executive officer of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems, and famously ran as an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons by Allan Warren. CC BY-SA 3.0

DALLAS, TX – Henry Ross Perot, noted business magnate, billionaire, philanthropist, and politician, passed away today of leukemia at the age of 89

Perot was the founder and former chief executive officer of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems, and famously ran as an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996; while he lost both times, he nonetheless exhibited the strongest showing by a third-party presidential candidate in U.S. history in 1996, winning 8.4 percent of the popular vote.

Born in 1930 in Texarkana, Texas and a former Eagle Scout, Perot entered the United States Naval Academy in 1949 and served until 1957. After leaving the service, he became a salesman for IBM, becoming a top employee before leaving the company in 1962 to found Electronic Data Systems, which landed many lucrative contracts from the U.S. government.

Perot became a prolific investor and founded Perot Systems Corporation 1988, which was acquired by Dell in 2009 for $3.9 billion. Ranked by Forbes in 2019 as the 167th-richest person in the United States, Perot had an estimated net worth of approximately $4.1 billion.

Perot, while very active in politics for much of his life, nonetheless never ran for public office before announcing his candidacy for office of the President of the United States. As opposed to many southern conservatives, Perot held more liberal-leaning views on social issues such as abortion, gay rights, and gun control; he also attempted to gain support from both Democratic and Republican voters.

Perot is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Margot, as well as five children and 16 grandchildren.

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