Perry died in his sleep Saturday at his home in the Houston area, his family said in a statement released by spokesman Jim McGrath.
The businessman was a fixture of GOP fundraising in Texas — and nationally — dating to President
Perry spent prolifically on politics but did so from a distance. He rarely gave interviews, skipped fancy fundraisers and was a mystery to even many of those who received his help.
Yet he couldn't avoid attention following his financing of the Swift Boat ads, which challenged Kerry's wartime service in Vietnam for which he received five medals. Some Democrats blamed Kerry's slow response to the criticism for sinking his candidacy.
Perry was also a prominent financial supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but they were not related.
Last year alone, Bob Perry gave more than $18 million to Republican presidential nominee
Perry's generosity extended to other statehouses, included in Wisconsin last year as Republican Gov.
Bobby Jack Perry was born Oct. 30, 1932, in rural Bosque County, Texas. Raised by a father who was a teacher and later dean of students at Baylor University, Perry started his career as a high school teacher and football coach after studying history at Baylor. But he switched professions in 1968 and established Houston-based Perry Homes, where he made his fortune as one of the largest home builders in Texas.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Doylene, four children and 15 grandchildren.