Ikea founder and Swedish billionaire Ingvar Kamprad died Sunday at 91, the New York Times reports.
In a statement on Sunday, Ikea said that Kamprad had “peacefully passed away at his home.”
“He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done,” it added. “Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind – hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye.”
Mr. Kamprad eventually stepped down from the company’s board in 2013, at the age of 87. He created the well-known furniture retailer at only 17 on his family’s farm.
In the beginning, Kamprad sold pens, picture frames and nylon stockings before venturing into armchairs and other types of furniture, according to Ikea’s website. The business model seemed to attract more customers than expected; shoppers were willing to pick up their own furniture, take it home and assemble it in exchange for a smaller price tag.
Ikea currently has approximately 400 stores worldwide, and can be found in 29 countries across Europe, North America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia.
Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index ranked Kamprad as the eighth-wealthiest person on the planet, with a fortune of $58.7 billion.
In 1976, he wrote a manifesto, “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” with biblical-style commandments listing “simplicity” as one of the main virtues and “waste” as a sin. This way of living directly influenced his brand, making his sold product as simple and as cheap as possible with clean and practical pieces.
“Few people can claim to have genuinely revolutionized retail,” Neil Saunders, managing director of the research firm GlobalData Retail told the Washington Post. “Ingvar Kamprad did.”
In 2016, the company had annual sales of $37.6 billion, making it the world’s largest furniture retailer.