DALLAS – Frederick Baron, a wealthy Texas trial lawyer and prominent Democratic fundraiser linked to the John Edwards mistress scandal, died Thursday. He was 61.
Baron died following complications from cancer, said Harrison Hickman, a family spokesman.
Baron had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, or bone marrow cancer. His death comes just two weeks after he obtained an experimental cancer-fighting treatment following a public plea by his son, Andrew, who had called the drug Tysabri his "last chance effort for life."
Tysabri is approved for people with multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease, but is only in the early clinical trial stage for multiple myeloma.
Boston-based Biogen Idec Inc. had refused Baron access to the drug, saying the regulatory risks of giving it to him were too great. But on Oct. 16, Andrew Baron said his father obtained Tysabri after the Mayo Clinic, working with the Food and Drug Administration, found a "legal basis" for its use. He did not elaborate.
It was the second time Baron made headlines in the past few months.
In August, he acknowledged sending money to the former mistress of Edwards, the former Democratic presidential candidate. Baron had been the national finance chairman for Edwards' presidential campaign, and had said Edwards had no involvement with the payments. The payments were used to resettle Rielle Hunter, Edwards' mistress, in California.
Baron helped raised millions as one of the nation's biggest Democratic donors. He held fundraisers at his Dallas home that featured party stalwarts such as former President Clinton.
In 2005, he established the Texas Democratic Trust, which helped the party make influential gains statewide.
Born in Iowa before moving to Texas as a teenager, Baron founded the law firm Baron & Budd in the 1970s. He made a fortune representing thousands in asbestos exposure litigation.