COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina textile magnate Roger Milliken, who at one time was ranked among the nation’s wealthiest people and helped turn the state’s Republican Party into a powerhouse, died Thursday. He was 95.

Milliken & Co. spokesman Richard Dillard said Milliken died in at Hospice House in Spartanburg, surrounded by family. A cause of death was not immediately available.

Friends and admirers said Milliken was a larger-than-life figure who built his family business into an industry giant and who became singular political force, but still someone who remained caring for those around him.

“There are no adequate words for the impact this great man had on his industry, his state, his country, and for that matter, the world. We have lost a giant in so many ways by his passing,” said Lewis F. Gossett, president and chief executive officer of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.

Karen Floyd, chairwoman of the state GOP, said Milliken will be remembered as a man who created jobs and built the state party.

“There will never be another South Carolinian whose contributions to this state have been so impactful over so many decades,” she said.


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