Richard Egan, 73, who became U.S. ambassador to Ireland after making millions of dollars founding data storage giant EMC Corp., died Friday of lung cancer.

He died at his Boston home, his family said in a statement.

Egan, who raised seed money for his business by selling office furniture, was a key fundraiser for the Republican Party and former President George W. Bush. He stepped down as EMC chairman in January 2001, about three months before Bush nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

Egan, born Feb. 28, 1936, received a bachelor's degree from Northeastern University and a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Egan was an electrical engineer and a former Marine Corps helicopter pilot who worked at Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and Intel before he co-founded data storage technology provider EMC in 1979. He sold most of his shares in the tech boom, shortly before the bubble burst.

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