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Richard Mellon Scaife, major US conservative donor, dies at 82

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Richard Mellon Scaife, a major US donor to conservative causes and heir to a sizeable banking fortune, died Friday according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper that he owned. He was 82.

In a column that appeared in the publication in May, Scaife said he suffered from "an untreatable form of cancer."

"Some who dislike me may rejoice at this news. Naturally, I can't share their enthusiasm," he wrote.

The billionaire's long list of causes included bankrolling investigations into Bill and Hillary Clinton, among them a probe into sex scandals that ultimately led to President Clinton's impeachment.

Scaife, a Pittsburgh native described by US media as withdrawn, possessed a $1.45 billion fortune, according to Forbes magazine.

He gave $1 million for the re-election of former president Richard Nixon, reports said, and was an ardent backer of former president Ronald Reagan.

Scaife donated freely to conservative think tanks and institutes, in addition to a spate of museums and other less polarizing causes. He also purchased several newspapers, including The Tribune-Review.

Scaife's uncle was the famed banker and industrialist Andrew Mellon. His father was the scion of a major Pittsburgh steel family.

He is survived by a daughter, a son and two grandchildren, The Tribune-Review said.

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