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Ikea founder dies after setting the business up when he was just 17 that is now worth £51bn … but despite his wealth he wore “second hand clothes” and drove 15-year-old car

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Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has died aged 91, the company has confirmed. The notoriously frugal billionaire  was described as ‘one of the greatest entrepreneurs of

the 20th century’. Kamprad – who was once listed as the world’s fourth richest man – is renowned for his frugality and admitted buying all his clothes from flea markets.

He passed away on Saturday at his mansion in Smaland, Sweden .

 Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has died, the company has confirmed.

The 91-year-old billionaire passed away on Saturday at his mansion in Smaland, Sweden.

Multinational Ikea, which has hundreds of stores across dozens of countries, has long been the world’s largest furniture retailer.

In a statement, the company described Mr Kamprad as ‘one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century’ and said his end was peaceful.

Mr Kamprad was 17 when he founded Ikea, now one of the world’s most recognisable brands, in 1943.

The name came from his initials, IK, with an E for Elmtaryd, the family farm where he grew up, and an A for Agunnaryd, his home village.

He came up with the idea of flat-packed furniture when he was trying to fit a table into the boot of his car.

A friend suggested he should take the legs off.

The billionaire opened his first store in 1965, only to see the wind smash the neon sign and cause a fire which burned the place down.

In his early years, Mr Kamprad sold matchboxes to neighbours from his bicycle, finding out he could buy them in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm.

He went on to sell fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, and ball-point pens and pencils.

In 1950, he introduced furniture into his mail-order catalogue for the first time and later decided to discontinue all other products 

In 1950, he introduced furniture into his mail-order catalogue for the first time and later decided to discontinue all other products

Mr Kamprad – who was once listed as the world’s fourth richest man and accumulated a fortune of about £51billion – is renowned for his frugality

The industrious young man began advertising in local newspapers and operating a makeshift mail-order catalogue.

Who runs Ikea?

The company is run jointly by Mr Kamprad’s three sons: Peter, 44, Jonas, 41, and Mathias, 39.

The three brothers are co-owners of Ikano – the company that manages the family fortune and runs several Ikea stores.

Peter also serves as chairman of Ikano.

Mathias is chairman of Inter IKEA Holding, which owns the retailer’s brand and intellectual property.

His father stepped down from the role in 2013 aged 87.

He distributed his products via the local milk van, which delivered them to the nearby train station.

In 1950, he introduced furniture, produced by local manufacturers in the forests close to his home, into his catalogue for the first time.

After getting positive responses from clients, he decided to focus on low-priced furniture and discontinue all other products.

And so the Ikea concept was born: affordable furniture which customers can assemble themselves.

The magnate is now estimated to have an accumulated fortune of about £51billion.

But it is difficult to separate what belongs to him, what belongs to his children and what is held in a family foundation in one of Europe’s most infamous tax havens, Liechtenstein.