Australia’s Alan Bond, 77, Dies From Heart Surgery Complications

Most Americans will remember Alan Bond as the man behind Australia defeating the U.S. in the America’s Cup yacht race in 1983, finally taking the cup out of America’s hands after they had held it for 132 years.

However, Alan Bond was also many other things; an entrepreneur, a businessman, a brewery man, and a fraudster.

According to SBS News, Alan Bond went in for open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve and repair two others on Tuesday and never regained consciousness. He was placed into intensive care but died around noon on Friday AEST time. Unfortunately, it was before his ex-wife, Eileen, could return to his side from her home in London. Two of Alan Bond’s children, John Bond and Jody Fewster, made a statement about their father’s death at the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, Australia.

“His body finally gave out after heroic efforts of everyone involved here at the intensive care unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital. He never regained consciousness after his surgery on Tuesday. To a lot of people, Dad was a larger-than-life character who started with nothing and did so much. He really did experience the highs and lows of life. To us, however, he was just Dad – a father who tried his best to be the best dad he could.”

They also issued a statement about their parents, who, although divorced, remained close.

“Mum and dad were always soul mates who never broke their connection, even though he could be very infuriating to her. She was very sad she did not get back to see him one last time, though they did recently catch up and have a meal together in London.”

They also made a mention of Alan Bond’s second wife, Diana Bliss, who died in 2012. They then went on to thank the hospital for all the support they had received since their father’s surgery on Tuesday.

Alan Bond was born in England in 1938, but his family moved to Australia while he was still a child. His first job was as a sign writer but he quickly amassed a fortune when he moved into the property development market. In 1978, he was named Australian of the Year. As his fortune grew, he branched out into brewing and media, buying Australia’s Channel Nine network from Kerry Packer.

After his American’s Cup win, Alan Bond’s high life slowly began to wane and in 1992, after having to sell Channel Nine back to Packer for much less than the $1 billion he bought it for, he was declared officially bankrupt. It was not long after that that Alan Bond’s troubles deepened when he was jailed later that year in relation to the collapse of Rothwells Bank. Over the next few years, Alan Bond seemed to jump from one jail term to the next, finally being bankrupted for $622 million — the second largest personal bankruptcy in history. The legal battle is still going in relation to his Bond Corporation and Bell Group ventures, with the disbursement of funds still under contention.

The same year Alan Bond declared bankruptcy, he and his first wife, Eileen divorced. He later married theater producer Diana Bliss in 1995 but this also led to despair when Bliss took her own life in 2012.

However, all was not bleak in Alan Bond’s life. After his lows of the 1990s, he returned to Australia’s rich list in 2008 with an estimated fortune of $265 million.

Alan Bond is survived his three children John, Craig, and Jody and his first wife Eileen.

[Image credit: Getty Images / Tony Feder / Stringer]