WASHINGTON – Richard Blum, husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He was 86.
Feinstein announced her husband's death in a statement Monday morning that said her “heart is broken today.”
She said her husband, a wealthy San Francisco investor, “left things better than he found them” and was devoted to his family. She described his work for the people of the Himalayas and noted he was a longtime friend of the Dalai Lama.
“My husband was my partner and best friend for more than 40 years," Feinstein said. “He was by my side for the good times and for the challenges. I am going to miss him terribly.”
In a White House statement, President Joe Biden called Blum “a successful businessman and proud son of California who dedicated much of his public life to fighting poverty around the globe.”
Biden said he'd served on the Senate Judiciary Committee with Feinstein for 16 years and “during that time, Jill and I came to know Dick as a friend.”
Feinstein, 88, has missed votes in recent weeks as her husband's health declined, contributing to Democrats' fragile 50-50 majority. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., is also absent after suffering a stroke in January. He is expected to return in the coming weeks, ahead of an expected April vote on Biden's Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Several of Feinstein's colleagues paid tribute to Blum on the Senate floor Monday afternoon. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it was always a pleasure when the two families would “break bread” together.
“Simply put, he was a fascinating person,” McConnell said. “He was highly successful, adventuresome, brave and curious.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, said Blum was a “dear friend, a devoted philanthropist and a proud San Franciscan" who was a donor to arts and anti-hunger programs in the city.
Blum was the chairman of Blum Capital Partners, an equity investment management firm. He is also the former chairman of the University of California Board of Regents and a former chairman of the advisory board for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He served on former President Barack Obama's Global Development Council.