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Billionaire Eli Broad dies at 87, helps create art scene in Los Angeles

Ellie Broad, the billionaire entrepreneur who became a philanthropist and art collector who played a huge role in shaping the art and cultural scene of Los Angeles, died on Friday at the age of 87.

Broad died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a long illness, said Susie Emerling, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

An accountant by profession who has made a fortune in real estate and insurance, Broad supports and helps fund the extensive museum of contemporary art, which opened in 2015.

He also provided the art, which will become the museum’s first major acquisition – the collection of Italian Count Gisepe Biumo di Panza, which is now claimed to cost $ 1 billion, according to a biography of Broad on the foundation’s website.

He contributed extensively to the construction of the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as an art center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Eli Broad waits to speak during a media review of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, California, September 16, 2015. REUTERS / Kevork Djansezian / File Photo

His donations also helped open the Wide Center at Yale School of Management and the Broad Institute, a research center for genomic medicine established in partnership with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“As businessman Ellie saw around the corner, as a philanthropist he saw the problems in the world and tried to fix them, as a citizen he saw the opportunity in our common community, and as a husband, father and friend he saw the potential in each of us,” said Gerun Riley , president of the Ellie and Edith Broad Foundation.

Broad was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1933 and moved to Detroit with his family when he was young. It was in this city in the Midwest that he began his career as a real estate developer, building single-family homes in the suburbs.

In the 1970s, he invested in an insurance company, renaming it Sun America, and made much of his fortune there before selling the business for $ 18 billion in the mid-1990s. He and his wife, Edith, moved to Los Angeles in 1963.

An avid art collector, Broad turned to philanthropy in 1999, according to a biography on the foundation’s website. He retired from the foundation in 2016.

Broad survived Eddie and his two sons, Jeffrey and Gary.

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