Armenian American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who founded MGM Resorts International, has died in Los Angeles at age 98, the gaming company said Tuesday, the New York Daily News reports.
The legendary business icon passed away Monday night after suffering from a brief illness, the Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported.
“MGM Resorts and our family of 62,000 employees are honoring the memory of a great man, a great business leader, a great community leader, an innovator, and one of our country’s greatest generation,” MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said in a statement.
“Mr. Kerkorian combined brilliant business insight with steadfast integrity to become one of the most reputable and influential financiers of our time,” Murren added.
Kerkorian is credited as being the major force behind evolving the Las Vegas Strip into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
The powerhouse founded MGM Resorts International in the early 1990s. He also owned Tracinda Corporation, a private investment firm based in Beverly Hills.
“Personally, he was a friend and coach, who taught me the importance in looking forward, and to look back only to understand how things could be done better,” Murren said.