D.C. Mourns Billionaire Philanthropist, Children's Champion

Joseph Robert Jr. loses battle with cancer

Friday, Dec 9, 2011  |  Updated 9:09 PM EDT
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The Fight of His Life

NBCWashington.com

Philanthropist Joe Robert died after a battle with brain cancer Dec. 7, 2011.

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The Fight of His Life

Joe Robert boxes to raise money for charity. Now he's fighting to save his own life from cancer.
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A D.C. man known worldwide as a champion of children’s causes has died. Joseph Robert Jr. died Wednesday after a battle with brain cancer.

Robert grew up in Silver Spring, Md., in a modest, close-knit family.  As a young man, he left a boxing career for business.

Robert began his real estate company with borrowed money in 1981. By the 1990s his assets were valued at $1 billion.

Despite his financial success, his real drive was helping disadvantaged kids in the D.C. area succeed.

Robert created "Fight for Children," an organization that promotes quality education and health care for children in Washington.

Over the past 20 years, Robert lent his time, money and heart to 140 other organizations dedicated to helping youth in the D.C. area.

Joe Robert Jr. was 59 years old.

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