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Alan Bond dies at 77; convicted of corporate fraud, winner of 1983 America's Cup

Alan Bond dies at 77; convicted of corporate fraud, winner of 1983 America's Cup
Alan Bond bankrolled Australia's successful 1983 run in the America's Cup sailing race and was later jailed for defrauding a company he controlled. He's seen here in 2000 after being released from prison in western Australia. (West Australian / Associated Press)

Alan Bond's family says the global entrepreneur who became an Australian hero by bankrolling an historic America's Cup yacht race victory before going to prison over the nation's biggest corporate fraud has died. He was 77.

Bond's family said Bond died on Friday in a hospital in the western city of Perth of complications following heart surgery.

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Perhaps Bond's proudest moment came in 1983 when he headed the Australia II syndicate that won the America's Cup from the New York Yacht Club that had held it since 1851. Australia II's then-revolutionary winged keel ended the longest winning streak in the history of sport.

The London-born former sign writer divided Australians. Some remember him as a national sporting hero. To others, he will always be an audacious corporate criminal.

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