HOUSTON - Steve Mostyn, a top Democratic donor and prominent Houston trial lawyer, died Wednesday. He was 46.
According to a statement released by his wife, Amber, Mostyn died after "a sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue." She did not disclose the cause of death.
"Steve was a beloved husband and devoted father who adored his children and never missed any of their sporting activities. He was a true friend, and a faithful fighter for those who did not have a voice," she said.
The statement also said: "If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255."
Mostyn is also survived by his daughter, Ava, his son, Mitch and his nephew, Skyler Anderson.
Mostyn grew up in Whitehouse, a small town in East Texas, and graduated from the South Texas College of Law. He made his fortune suing insurance companies on behalf of homeowners after hurricanes. He and his wife, also an attorney, have long been considered the state’s most powerful Democratic backers, spending millions on Democratic campaigns in Texas and beyond.
But Mostyn didn’t just spend money behind the scenes. He often made his opposition to Republican leaders and policies known in plain and public terms. In 2010, he famously paid for full-page ads in Texas newspapers calling Gov. Rick Perry a “coward” for refusing to debate his Democratic rival, former Houston Mayor Bill White.
“Steve was a giant," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. "He was the epitome of a Texas Democrat – big, bold, fearless, and caring. He dedicated his professional and personal life to fighting for the little guy."
Mostyn gave more than $2.3 million toward Democrats' 2014 efforts to elect candidates including Wendy Davis, who ran for governor. In total, he had given Davis more than $3 million over the course of her political career. Since 2000, he had donated more than $24 million to political causes in his name and in his law firm's name, according to Texas Ethics Commission records.
"I am heartbroken," Davis tweeted Thursday. "Texas has lost an extraordinary person. Steve was a committed and effective fighter for justice, a wonderful husband, father and friend. He leaves behind a lasting impact on everyone who’s life he touched."
Mostyn told the Texas Tribune in September that he was ready to let others take the lead when it came to politics.
“I want to go watch Friday night football with my son and go to my little girl’s swim meets and I want to do all those things,” Mostyn said. “And we’re at the point where, you’re running, running, running, and you look up one day and you say, we’re doing fine, but are we really enjoying the things we want to be enjoying?”
"In honor of Steve's life and legacy, please consider supporting the important work of the Mostyn Moreno Foundation or the Special Olympics of Texas,” his wife said in a statement.