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IKEA's Founder, Ingvar Kamprad, Dies at 91

He was born in 1926 in Småland, Sweden.

Cover image via RTE

On 27 January, Ingvar Kamprad, the man behind the Ikea furniture chain, died at the age of 91 at his home in Smaland, Sweden

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, in an undated photograph.

Image via Inter Ikea Systems B.V., via European Pressphoto Agency

The IKEA founder's death was announced by the company, which said that Ingvar passed away "peacefully" following a short illness.

He was "surrounded by his loved ones", the company added in its statement.

He was born in 1926 in Småland, where he grew up on a farm. His family was poor, and he earned money selling matches and pencils in villages.

At the early age of 17, Ingvar founded IKEA, the business that became his lifelong commitment and made him one of the world's richest men.

Despite being the world's eighth-richest person, worth USD58.7 billion, Kamprad insisted that his home was modest, that he had no real fortune and that IKEA was held by a charitable trust

However, his claims were far from true.

According to a report in the New York Times, the IKEA founder's home was a villa overlooking Lake Geneva, and he had an estate in Sweden and vineyards in Provence.

While IKEA was indeed operated through a charitable trust and a complex series of holding companies, it was all controlled by the Kamprad family to avoid any chance that IKEA might be taken public or broken up.

Ingvar Kamprad, pictured in 2012.

Image via Jean-Christophe Bott/EPA

The IKEA founder was a fascist sympathizer

He tried to hide his fascist past by making a donation of USD51 million to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. While he faced questions over his links to fascist groups, he later admitted that it was a "mistake".

In 1956, IKEA pioneered flat-pack furniture

According to reports, it was Ingvar who came up with the idea of flat-pack furniture.

He got the idea when he watched an employee remove the legs from a table in order to fit it into a customer's car. It was at that moment he realised that it could be developed to save money on transport, storage and sales space.

Image via Sweden

While Ingvar did not have an operational role within IKEA after 1988, he kept contributing to the business in the role of senior advisor

Back in the 80s, he gave an interview in which he said that his vision for Ikea was that it would be a company that would make life easier for its customers.

Following his death, Jesper Brodin, CEO and President of the IKEA Group, said:

"We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar. His legacy will be admired for many years to come and his vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people – will continue to guide and inspire us."

IKEA Cheras

Image via The Edge Markets

Meanwhile, the iconic A&W outlet in Petaling Jaya is closing down as its redevelopment plans have been approved by the MBPJ:

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