ALAN Bond, arguably one of the most controversial figures in Australian business, has been lauded for his lasting legacy on the Gold Coast after his death today, aged 77.
The one time Australian of the Year and founder of Australia's first privately funded university, Bond University, died following complications from heart surgery this week.
Son John Bond paid tribute to his father saying he was a "larger than life character who started with nothing and did so much".
Gold Coast businessman and avid Bond University supporter Terry Jackman says the city owes a great deal to Alan Bond and his vision for education.
"Despite the dramas, without him it is very doubtful that Bond University would have been built and the Gold Coast continues to benefit from it today."
Bond was a special guest at last year's 25th anniversary celebrations for Bond University, and university vice-chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford says it offered a touching moment for Bond at the time.
"He was quite emotional when he came back and, in a quiet moment, he told me Bond University was his greatest and proudest legacy," he says.
"The University has never condoned Alan's business dealings. Rather we have accepted that Alan had another side and we are grateful for his vision, passion and determination that led to the establishment of Bond University."
Brailsford says Bond has had little involvement with the university since the early 1990s, but he was "warmly received by the Bond community".
"Bond University remains unique as a private not-for-profit institution, with an entrepreneurial spirit - and that is a legacy of Alan's determination and spirit to be different.
"The Bond University community is saddened by the news of his passing and we send our deepest sympathy to Alan's family and particularly his three children John, Craig and Jody."
John Bond says his father had "a great influence on many people and we are heartfelt in our thanks for all the kind messages of support we have received".
"We will all miss him very much."
Bond says his father experienced both the highs and lows of life and highlights that he was both a great businessman and a great father.
"Dad was vitally interested in everything that we did with that ever inquiring mind of his," he says.
"We only half joked to our friends you had to have a five-year business plan ready when you met him."
Bond says his father, who has eight grandchildren, had remained close with his ex-wife Eileen, who didn't make it back to Perth before he passed away.
"Mum and Dad were always great soul mates who never broke their connection, even though he could be very infuriating to her," says Bond.
"She is very sad that she did not get back to see him one last time, although they were able to have dinner together just recently in London."
Bond also says his father very much loved his second wife Dianna Bliss, who died in 2012, and that he missed her greatly in the past few years.
Alan Bond led the consortium that won the America's Cup in 1983, breaking one of the sporting world's longest winning streaks that saw the US dominate the event for 132 years.
In WA, he was one of the state's most prominent business figures and at one stage was the nation's largest brewer which included ownership of Queensland's iconic XXXX brand.
In the 1990s he fell from grace and declared bankrupt under the weight of $1.8 billion in personal debts. Bond later served time for siphoning off $1.2 billion from Bell Resources to assist his ailing company.
Bond made a surprise return to the BRW Rich List in 2008 on the back of investments in African mining assets. He was said to be worth $265 million at the time.
Picture: Tim Brailsford (left) with Alan Bond.
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