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Media mogul Sumner Redstone dead at 97

Sumner Redstone, the billionaire entrepreneur who parlayed his father's drive-in movie theater chain into a media empire, has died at the age of 97.

Known for his blunt talk and audacious risk-taking, Redstone at his peak reigned over a media empire that encompassed CBS and Viacom, parent companies to a host of successful entertainment businesses, from MTV and Comedy Central to Paramount Pictures.

But in his final years, the billionaire's media mogul’s life descended into an avalanche of controversy and corporate maneuvering as those close to him began questioning his mental capacity.

He was eventually replaced as executive chairman of Viacom by one-time confidant Philippe Dauman and at CBS by Les Moonves.

Both men were later ousted. Moonves, most notably, after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

In the wake of those struggles, Redstone's daughter Shari, a longtime executive in her father’s business and from whom he had once been estranged, emerged with control and re-merged Viacom and CBS in 2019.

In a statement issued Wednesday Shari said: "My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy,” adding, "I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always.”

Asked in his last interview who might succeed him, Redstone exploded, saying, "I will not discuss succession. You know why? I’m not going to die."