The cause of Perry's death Saturday at his Nassau Bay, Texas, home was not reported.
Perry founded Perry Homes in 1967, one of the few building companies to survive the recession of the 1980s, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday.
"Many of those builders with roots in Houston struggled mightily and didn't make it through the hard times," said Barton Smith, economics professor at the University of Houston.
The Center for Public Integrity ranked Perry as third in its list of top contributors, noting he donated $23.5 million from 2011 to 2012 to Super PACs.
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones noted Perry contributed approximately $32 million to Texas candidates since 2000.
He mostly championed conservative candidates, but at times did donate to Democrats as long as they supported "education, economic liberty and tort reform," Perry Homes spokesman Anthony Holm said.
Perry is survived by his wife and four grown children, the Chronicle reported.
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