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June 16, 2015

Obituary: Kirk Kerkorian, Casino Mogul Who Gave $1 Billion to Armenia

Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist, died of natural causes Monday at age 98, The Las Vegas Sun reports.

Mr. Kerkorian created the Lincy Foundation (named for his daughters Linda and Tracy), which donated $1 billion to rebuild Armenia following the 1988 earthquake and tens of millions of dollars to Southern Nevada charities. In 2009 he gave $14 million to establish a fundraising institute at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas to help seek grants to improve the quality of life in the state.

His foundation closed shop in 2011, with the University of California at Los Angeles taking over the $200 million in charitable assets. The donation created the Dream Fund, half devoted to research, scholarships, and other academic programs, with the other $100-million put into a donor-advised fund administered by UCLA, with grants split between the institution and charitable causes nationwide.

Mr. Kerkorian made his fortune though investments in hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas strip. At different times in his life he owned the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in Hollywood and percentages of the Ford Motor Company and General Motors. For a time, Mr. Kerkorian was considered the richest man in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times.