Kirk Kerkorian, founder of MGM Resorts and a pioneer of modern casino gaming, passed away last month shortly after his 98th birthday.

According to an MGM Resorts International press release, Kerkorian was a quiet but powerful force behind the transformation of the Las Vegas Strip into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, through the development of the International, MGM and MGM Grand. He was also a generous humanitarian who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charities worldwide.

“MGM Resorts and our family of 62,000 employees are honoring the memory of a great man, a great business leader, a great community leader, an innovator, and one of our country’s greatest generation,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “Mr. Kerkorian combined brilliant business insight with steadfast integrity to become one of the most reputable and influential financiers of our time. Personally, he was a friend and coach, who taught me the importance in looking forward, and to look back only to understand how things could be done better. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and his many business associates.”

“In an industry that thrives on innovation, Kirk Kerkorian was a pioneer who set a higher standard for gaming and elevated Las Vegas’ stature with each move he made,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of American Gaming Association. “He was also a generous philanthropist whose contributions will continue to make Nevada a better place for decades to come. Given his outsized influence in shaping the gaming industry, it’s no surprise that Mr. Kerkorian was among the first classes of inductees into the Gaming Hall of Fame. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughters, extended family and friends as they mourn his passing.”

Kerkorian owned Beverly Hills?based Tracinda Corporation, a private investment firm. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of MGM Resorts, and had served with distinction as Director Emeritus since 2011.

 He is survived by two daughters, Tracy Kerkorian and Linda Ross Hilton Kemper, and three grandchildren.