On the day of the year when many people were exchanging chocolates with their sweethearts, Michele Ferrero, the “richest candyman on the planet,” died.
Ferrero, 89, died Saturday — Valentine’s Day — after a months-long battle with an unspecified illness. His company, Ferrero chocolates, made him the richest person in Italy and one of the wealthiest businessmen on the planet.
The Ferrero websites’ homepages have been replaced with a standalone picture of Michele. “We are of proud of you. Thank you Michele,” the pages read.
Ferrero’s father invented what would become Nutella, the world-famous chocolate-hazelnut spread. The story goes that cocoa was scarce during World War II, so Pietro Ferrero improvised. Enter hazelnuts.
The company was also responsible for the fancier Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Kinder Surprise Eggs and Tic Tacs. Ferrero was worth at least $23.4 billion, according to Forbes.
The company has been in the control of Ferrero’s two sons since 1997. He is survived by his wife, Maria Franca. Read more…