Jon Huntsman Sr., Utah billionaire and philanthropist, dies

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Utah billionaire and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. has died.

Huntsman’s assistant, Pam Bailey, confirmed he died Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 in Salt Lake City. He was 80.

Huntsman has long ties to eastern Idaho. He was born in Thomas, west of Blackfoot.

Bailey declined to name a cause of death.

Huntsman was the founder and longtime executive chairman of Huntsman Corp., a $13 billion company that refines raw materials that go into thousands of products.

He also founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. The research center is dedicated to finding a cure for cancer through human genetics.

Huntsman had nine children, including Jon Huntsman Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Russia and a former Utah governor and GOP presidential candidate.

The elder Huntsman served as a special assistant to U.S. President Richard Nixon and was a major force in Utah and national politics.

He and his family also created a large housing and building development called Huntsman Springs in Teton Valley, Idaho. The family recently sold its interests there.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch remembered Huntsman Friday afternoon, saying, “Jon Huntsman Sr. was a committed public servant, a visionary businessman, and perhaps the greatest philanthropist our state has ever known. He was also a trusted confidant and a dear friend. Utah has lost a lion today.”

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