Colourful Australian businessman Alan Bond dies
SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
In this Sept. 18, 1977 file photo, Australia syndicate head Alan Bond, right, and Courageous skipper Ted Turner, left, shake hands at a news conference following Courageous Americas Cup victory, in Newport, R.I. AP PhotoAlan Bond, the high-flying Australian businessman, America's Cup hero and convicted fraudster, died on June 5 aged 77 following complications from open heart surgery.
His children John, Craig and Jody announced his death outside the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, where he had been in an induced coma since surgery on June 2.
"His body finally gave out after heroic efforts of everyone involved here at the intensive care unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital," their statement said.
"He never regained consciousness after his surgery on Tuesday."
Bond, a larger-than-life entrepreneur, became a national hero when he led a team that won the America's Cup yachting crown from the United States in 1983, bankrolling Australia II's historic victory over Dennis Conner's Liberty.
But his empire crumbled in the 1990s and he was eventually bankrupted. In 1996 he was convicted of swindling Aus$1.2 billion (US$800 million at the time) to prop up his ailing Bond Corporation.
He served three years in jail for what was then Australia's biggest corporate fraud.
Bond, who emigrated from Britain at 11 with his parents and left school in Australia at 14, worked first as a signwriter, before making a fortune in property development.
It allowed him to start the Bond Corporation which had brewing, mining and media assets, including Australia's Nine television network which he bought from fellow tycoon Kerry Packer before later selling it back to him.
At its height, it was one of Australia's biggest business empires, owning overseas interests including the St Moritz hotel in New York, which he bought from Donald Trump, and the Lippo Centre in Hong Kong, which used to be called the Bond Centre.
The corporation also provided a vehicle for the Australian to purchase Van Gogh's Irises painting for US$54 million. It was later sold to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
His success allowed him to indulge his love of yachting, with Australia II's comeback 4-3 victory off Newport, Rhode Island, in 1983 still considered one of the nation's top sporting moments.
The win, aided by Australia II's revolutionary winged keel, ended the 132-year US dominance of the America's Cup, the longest winning streak in sporting history.
The spectacle became a defining moment for Australia and led to then Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously announcing that "any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum", after much of the nation stayed up to watch the deciding race and party.
"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," said his son John.
"To us, however, he was just dad -- a father who tried his best to be the best dad he could."
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said he was saddened to hear about the death of this Perth personality.
"He was a controversial figure but will also be remembered for a proud moment in Australia's history, which also put Western Australia on the map," he said, referring to the America's Cup.
Treasurer Joe Hockey noted that Bond operated in an era of great ambition in Australian capitalism.
"But, geez, there was reputational damage to Australia from a lot of people like Mr Bond and ... others," he told Radio 2GB.
"Frankly he left a number of positive legacies but there were a lot of tears along the way."