JEDDAH: Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, once one of the world’s richest men with far-reaching international connections, died on Tuesday.
“Our beloved father Adnan Khashoggi, aged 82, died peacefully today in London while being treated for Parkinson’s Disease,” his family said in a statement.
“He lived his last days... with the same elegance, strength and dignity that characterized his remarkable life.”
“Our father understood the art of bringing people together better than anyone,” the family said. “He celebrated life in the living of it, and always with an innate curiosity in others.”
Khashoggi was well-known for his lavish lifestyle. He was estimated to be worth some $4 billion at the peak of his wealth in the 1970s. He was born in Makkah, the son of Muhammad Khashoggi. His family is of Turkish origin.
He “combined commercial acumen with an over-riding loyalty to his country. His work always furthered the interests of his country,” his family said.
Khashoggi left his studies in order to seek his fortune in business.
Othman Al-Omeir, former editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat and founder of Elaph, the Arab world’s first online newspaper, said Khashoggi “was a colorful personality. He was a self-made man… I was on very good terms with him.”
He added that Khashoggi “was one of the greatest businessmen in the world, at a time when there were not many rich people… He was very generous and kind.”
Al-Omeir described him as “the Bill Gates of his time” and “the Onassis of the Arab world,” referring to Aristotle Socrates Onassis, a Greek-Argentine shipping magnate who amassed the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the world’s richest and most famous men.
Khashoggi’s yacht, the Nabila, was the largest in the world at the time, and was used in the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.”
He was “unique,” said Al-Omeir. “There was only one on Adnan Khashoggi. There can never be another one.”
— With input from AFP, AP