ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Joe L. Allbritton, who became one of Washington's most influential men by building media and banking empires, has died at the age of 87.

Allbritton Communications president Frederick Ryan said Allbritton died Wednesday of heart ailments at a hospital in Houston, where he lived.

Allbritton's fortune was self-made, beginning with real estate trades and banking investments. By age 33, he was a millionaire.

His holdings include eight television stations, including WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington whose call letters bear his initials. He owned the Washington Star for several years and his son founded Politico.

He also owned Riggs Bank for more than 20 years, including its final years, which were mired in scandal.

He was a fixture on the D.C. social circuit and good friends with Prince Charles.


The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, released this statement:

"Washington National Cathedral mourns the loss of a longtime friend in Joe Allbritton, a man who was instrumental both in building the Cathedral and in sharing its ministry with the world. Canon Allbritton demonstrated his commitment to the Cathedral through his personal generosity and in broadcasting our Christmas services for several years on WJLA. The Cathedral will always remember him as faithful, generous and committed to this spiritual home for the nation. He and his family will be in our hearts and prayers now in Advent and as we prepare for Christmas, one of his favorite times of the year."

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