IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad dies at 91

Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

Founder of Ikea furniture chain dead at 91

Billionaire IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad has died aged 91, the Swedish company said on Sunday, with the furniture empire he launched more than half a century ago familiar around the globe.

FILE - In this August 6, 2002 file photo, Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish multinational furniture retailer IKEA, stands outside the company's head office in Almhult, Sweden.

"Ingvar Kamprad was a unique entrepreneur who had a big impact on Swedish business and who made home design a possibility for the many not just the few", national news agency TT quoted Lofven saying.

Under Kamprad, Ikea grew into an global furniture-chain giant, with more than 400 stores worldwide in almost 50 countries and almost $48 billion in revenue.

Kamprad, who only stepped down from the company board in 2013, "passed away peacefully" at home in Smaland, the company said.

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Ikea now sports 412 stores across 49 countries, branches that sprawl more than 400,000 square feet and feature model rooms stocked with Malm bed frames, Poang chairs, Billy bookcases and Ektorp sofas.

In the later years of his life, Mr Kamprad faced questions over his past links to fascist groups - something he admitted, but said was a "mistake".

Before Kamprad's company became a household word, he formed allegiances that came back to haunt him.

"He wanted to appear a man of the people, one of us", Stenebo wrote in a behind-the-scenes book, "The Truth About Ikea", released shortly after he left the company almost a decade ago.

Ikea's corporate culture mirrors Kamprad's celebration of frugality.

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His reputation for living modestly became part of a carefully crafted image perpetuated by him and his company, his former executive assistant Johan Stenebo said.

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was born March 30, 1926, near the southern Swedish town of Almhult.

Despite his enormous success, Kamprad's modest spending habits bordered on the obsessive and in 1973 he fled Sweden's higher tax structure for Denmark, before seeking even lower taxes in Switzerland.

Kamprad is survived by a daughter Annica from his first marriage to Kerstin Wadling and three sons - Peter, Jonas and Mathias - from his marriage to Margaretha Stennert.

Kamprad was once estimated to be the world's fourth-richest person, with a net worth of up to $28 billion according to Forbes magazine. IKEA is owned by a foundation Kamprad created, whose statutes require profits to be reinvested in the company or donated to charity. "He really left an indelible imprint on retail and on consumers' lives".

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