Alan Bond, a controversial Australian businessman who financed the Australian team that won the 1983 America’s Cup, died Friday morning at the age of 77, his family announced. Bond had been in an induced coma after he failed to recover from an open heart surgery on Tuesday.
The British-born Bond, who spent nearly four years in jail for his role in Australia's biggest corporate fraud, reportedly died at the Fiona Stanley Hospital in the country’s western city of Perth. Bond used to spend his time between London and Perth, and had returned to Australia just two weeks before his heart surgery, after complaining of shortness of breath.
"He never regained consciousness after his surgery on Tuesday," Bond’s son, John, said, according to the Associated Press. "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."
The property tycoon reportedly gained fame after he financed the Australia II team that won the America’s Cup from the New York Yacht Club, which had held the trophy since 1851, ending America's dominance in the sport and a 132-year-long winning streak. Bond had been awarded the Australian of the Year title in 1978 for sponsoring earlier unsuccessful America’s Cup challenges. Bond’s downfall came in the 1990s when he went bankrupt, in debt to the amount of $1.4 billion, and subsequently pleaded guilty to charges related to corporate law in 1997.
John is reportedly survived by his former wife, Eileen, three children -- sons John and Craig, and daughter Jody -- eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“She is very sad that she did not get back to see him one last time although they were able to have dinner together just recently in London,” John said about Eileen, who was travelling from London to join her family, according to the Guardian.