Image: Kerry Packer
Will Burgess  /  Reuters
Kerry Packer, seen in October, was the 94th richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
msnbc.com news services
updated 12/26/2005 6:32:10 PM ET 2005-12-26T23:32:10

Australia’s richest man, media and gambling mogul Kerry Packer, has died, his family said in a statement Tuesday. He was 68.

Packer, listed by Forbes magazine this year as the 94th richest man in the world with a $5 billion fortune, died at his at Sydney home Monday, according to the statement released through his Nine Network television.

“Mrs. Kerry Packer and her children James and Gretel sadly report the passing last evening of her husband and their father Kerry,” a statement written by Nine executive Tony Ritchie said.

The statement did not detail a cause of death, but Packer had long been plagued by ill health, including a battle with cancer. He had also undergone a kidney transplant.

“He died peacefully at home with his family at his bedside,” it said. “He will be lovingly remembered and missed enormously. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced,” Ritchie added.

In 1990 Packer had a heart attack while playing polo in Sydney and was clinically dead for eight minutes until emergency medical officers revived him by electric shock treatment.

“The good news is there’s no devil. The bad news is there’s no heaven. There’s nothing,” Packer said after the incident.

Packer’s media and gambling empire was Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd., which owns Nine, as well as Melbourne’s Crown Casino and is developing casinos in Macau with Asian businessman Stanley Ho.

Packer was also responsible for revolution in one day cricket when he began World Series Cricket in the 1977.

Packer’s other business holdings and investments included petrochemicals, heavy engineering, ski resorts, rural properties, diamond exploration and coal mines.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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