US tycoon, ex-politician dies at 89

Texan billionaire Ross Perot, who twice ran for US president as an independent, has died aged 89, his family says.

Described as idiosyncratic and feisty, he pioneered the computer data industry by founding his own company in 1962.

But he was best known for running in the 1992 campaign, advocating balanced budgets and calling for an end to the outsourcing of jobs abroad.

Democrat Bill Clinton won the three-way race, in which Mr Perot took almost 19 per cent of the vote.

Incumbent George HW Bush was defeated.

Perot ran for president again in 1996, after forming the Reform Party. He was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier this year.

“Ross Perot, the ground-breaking businessman and loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, passed away early Tuesday at his home in Dallas, surrounded by his devoted family,” the Perot family said in a statement.

Perot made his fortune by founding Electronic Data Systems in 1962, and Perot Systems in 1988.

When two of his employees were jailed in Iran in 1979 over a contract dispute – just before the Islamic revolution – he financed a private commando rescue in a raid that inspired a book and a film.

The 1992 campaign – during which Perot spent $63m of his own money – made him a household name. At one point in June that year, he had a lead over both his mainstream rivals – a feat that no other independent or third-party candidate managed before or since. Perot finished a strong third in the November election.

His second campaign in 1996 was less successful. He did not take part in presidential debates and got just 8 per cent of the vote. –BBC

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