WASHINGTON -- The brother of former President Richard Nixon died of cancer this weekend at Newport Beach, Calif., after a long illness, a family member said Monday. He was 72.
Donald Nixon worked as a consultant before his retirement and served on the Whittier, Calif., school board for many years.
A family member, who requested anonymity, said Nixon died Saturday at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
The former president is recovering from prostate surgery and will be unable to attend the funeral services, which will be private, the family member said.
Donald Nixon emerged as a national figure in 1960 when it was disclosed that billionaire Howard Hughes had lent him $205,000 in an effort to help save Nixon's Inc., a chain of inexpensive restaurants operated in Southern California.
Despite the loan, Nixon filed for bankruptcy in 1961, owing his creditors $206,000.
The disclosure of the Hughes loan is believed to have contributed to Richard Nixon's defeat in the 1960 presidential race.
When the Watergate cover-up began to unravel in the spring of 1973, President Nixon said he was worried his brother might be involved, according to a White House tape played in federal court.
One theory advanced for the Watergate break-in was that Democratic Chairman Lawrence F. O'Brien, who had done public relations work for Hughes in the past, had documents that would have disclosed a controversial $100,000 gift from Hughes to Nixon in 1970 through Charles G. 'Bebe' Rebozo.
In 1974, the president's younger brother denied reports he received part of the $100,000 contribution.
An investigation of Donald Nixon's business activities began at the White House within months of Nixon's election in 1968, and he was tailed by the FBI. Attorney General John Mitchell later ordered a wiretap on Donald Nixon at the request of the president.
An extensive investigation by United Press International into Donald Nixon's business activities revealed he usually worked for companies doing business with the U.S. government or foreign countries, receiving 'consultant's fees.'
He also owned stock in some of the companies involved, but there is no evidence he made 'substantial' sums of money as alleged by Senate Watergate investigators.
Sources said there was so much White House concern among the president's aides that 'Donald wasn't even allowed in to see his brother.'
'People were always trying to use Donald's name, and quite often the business deals involved were questionable,' one source said.
At the time of his bankruptcy filing, Donald Nixon was a sales manager with the Carnation Co. From 1963 through 1968, he was president of a Southern California marketing and consulting firm and in 1969 he was president of Ogden Foods Inc.
Nixon joined the Marriott Hotel chain in 1970 as vice president for community and industry relations. In 1974, he resigned because of ill health and accepted an early retirement, agreeing to represent the company as a consultant through January 1975.
Survivors include his wife, Clara Jane; his daughter, Laurene Anfinson of Great Falls, Va.; and sons, Donald Jr. of Tustin, Calif., and Richard of Newport Beach.