He was a larger than life character who was an entrepreneur in the truest sense. He took the good with the bad and like most he had his peaks and lows. Alan Bond, entrepreneur, some time billionaire, winner of the America’s cup, husband, father and grandfather has died at age 77.
Bond was admitted to hospital earlier in the week to undergo straightforward heart surgery to replace a heart valve at Perth’s Fiona Stanley Hospital only to have complications and lose his fight for life in the early hours of Friday morning. His son John told media:
"Dad passed away this morning.
"His body finally gave out after the heroic efforts of everyone involved in the Intensive Care Unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
"He never regained consciousness from his surgery on Tuesday and has been on life support since that time.
"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 to be the best Dad he could.
"He was also Pop to eight grandchildren and hadn't yet received a nickname as a great grandfather.
"Mum and Dad were always great soul mates who never broke their connection, even though he could be very infuriating to her.
"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.
"Dad also loved Diana very much and missed her greatly in these past few years.
"Dad was vitally interested in everything that we did with that ever inquiring mind of his. We only half joked to our friends you had to have a five year business plan ready when you met him.
"We will all miss him very much.
"Dad had a great influence on many people and we are heartfelt in our thanks for all the kind messages of support we have received.
"We do hope that we can now have time as a family to grieve and we would appreciate some privacy in this regard."
Bond was born in London on April 22nd 1938 and came to Australia in 1950 with his parents Frank and Kathleen. Arriving in Fremantle, Perth. He never finished high school or wanted to head to university, instead he wanted to hit the business circuit. In 1955 he married his first wife Eileen and in 967 he went on to found a private company that bought into property, mining and retailing assets. In 1969 his first public company was launched called WA land and this was followed by the famous and infamous Bond Corporation. By 1982 Bond Corporation was Western Australia’s largest corporations. In 1978 he was named as Australian of the year and soon after his yacht called Australia 2 flying the flag of the boxing kangaroo won the America’s Cup breaking a 132 year winning streak on the Americans behalf.
In 1987 Bond bought channel nine from Kerry Packer but the Black Tuesday crash was looming and after the crash of October 1987 he lost $200 million over night. Bond established Australia’s first privately funded University, Bond University saying "I've always dreamt of starting a university that could take a person such as myself and give them an education which would stop them making the mistakes I've made, without blunting the entrepreneurial nature of the body,"
By 1992 he was bankrupt and jail loomed after a company collapse saw the authorities called in. He emerged from jail and hit the hustings again. He bought a brewery, won the America’s cup, built a business empire, established a University and was, at his height, one of the nations richest men.
Sure, Bond was a criminal and there was no escaping that tag but he was also a very remarkable man who did things the old school way. In his personal life he separated and later divorced his first wife and met his second wife who would later take her own life. In 2000 his daughter passed away after a suspected accidental overdose and he is today survived by his children John, Craig and Jody.
When you remember Bond sure remember the bad – but also recognise the immense good. He was the true example of an Australian battler. Vale Bondy.
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