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IKEA furniture store mogul dies at 91
30 January 2018, 01:02 | Katrina Lee
Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91
The Ikea founder passed away at his home in the southern Swedish region of Smaland, according to the Agence France-Presse and Ikea, in a statement, said: "Kamprad passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones following a brief illness".
Kamprad soon moved away from making individual sales calls and began advertising in local newspapers and operating a makeshift mail-order catalog. After the positive response he received, he soon made a decision to discontinue all other products and focus just on low-cost furniture.
And it mentions a 2016 interview with Swedish television channel TV4 where Kamprad "said that it was 'in the nature of Småland to be thrifty".
Ikea opened its first store in the United Kingdom in 1987, and it is in the process of building its 22nd store in the country in Greenwich, south-east London.
In the 1998 book, he gave more details about his youthful "delusions", saying he had been influenced as a child by his German grandmother's strong support for Adolf Hitler. His paternal grandparents emigrated to Sweden in the 1890s. "Can one ever get forgiveness for such stupidity?"
Flags are flying at half mast at IKEA in Sweden, following the death of the founder of the retail giant.
"The comedian Amy Poehler once claimed that IKEA was Swedish for 'argument.' If so, Ingvar Kamprad - the "IK" in IKEA - was responsible for countless do-it-yourself assembly quarrels in a world he furnished with cheap, simple and sometimes disposable bookcases, tables and sofas", writes Rick Hampson for USA Today.
Kamprad's life was not without controversy, however.
Even though he was Swedish, he lived in Switzerland from the year 1976 to 2014.
His decision to live overseas, mainly in Switzerland, to avoid Sweden's high income taxes was also widely criticised. He chose to return home only after his second wife Margaretha died in 2011. They had two cars, a 2008 Skoda and a 1993 Volvo 240. IKEA is owned by a foundation Kamprad created, whose statutes require profits to be reinvested in the company or donated to charity. Records from his estate showed he donated more than $20 million to philanthropic causes in 2012 alone.
In his later years, Kamprad was frequently listed as one of the richest businessmen in the world, with an estimated net worth of €22.5 billion, based largely on the value of IKEA's assets.
His sons - Peter, Jonas and Mathias - still sit on the boards of various IKEA entities, but the family is no longer at the helm.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
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