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Brewery magnate J. Coors dies at age 85 in California

DENVER — Joseph Coors, who used his brewing fortune to support President Ronald Reagan and help create the conservative Heritage Foundation, has died at age 85.

Coors, whose grandfather founded Golden-based Adolph Coors Co. in 1873, died Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a three-month battle with lymphatic cancer.

In the 1970s, Coors began providing money and his famous name to start the Heritage Foundation, the influential think tank in Washington, D.C. Even earlier, he served as one of Reagan's advisers and backers in the "kitchen Cabinet," which financed Reagan's political career from the governorship of California to the White House. The two first met in Palm Springs, Calif., in 1967.

"Without Joe Coors, the Heritage Foundation wouldn't exist — and the conservative movement it nurtures would be immeasurably poorer," the foundation's president, Edwin Feulner, said in a statement.

In 1988 he retired as chief operating officer. He remained a director until three years ago.