Ingvar Kamprad dead: Ikea founder passes away aged 91 after short illness

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Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Swedish furniture giant IKEA, has died. His catalogue of products included fountain pens, encyclopedias and reinforced socks before progressing to furniture in 1948. His empire has since grown to 412 stores, and he was a part of the company's operations until 1988.

The company said that Mr Kamprad was "one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century". His personal fortune was recently estimated at more than 30 billion euros and IKEA is now heading for 50 billion euros in annual revenues.

When Kamprad was 17, his dad gave him a cash reward for succeeding in his studies before he went on to officially start Ikea. This had to do with a money transfer to a secret foundation that owns Ikea in tax haven Liechtenstein and removed him from direct ownership of Ikea.

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".

And so the retailer continues to innovate - 75 years after he founded his company, Kamprad, the thrifty billionaire, leaves behind a legacy as simple as his furniture: style need not be costly.

Known for its embrace of typically Swedish motifs that included using the country's blue and yellow flag colour scheme for the logo and serving traditionally Scandinavian dishes in its cafeteria, Kamprad's own relationship with Sweden was often complicated.

Despite this, he lived a life of penny pinching: Kamprad recycled his tea bags, flew economy, drove an old Volvo, stayed at cheap hotels, shopped for bargains and took the little salt and pepper packets home from restaurants. In the 1960's, Kamprad expanded his business to Stockholm, Norway and Denmark. It was the test run for Kamprad's motto: "If it works in Switzerland, it'll work anywhere". By 1985, Kamprad established his first American store in Philadelphia.

Furniture designer Jeff Banks said that Mr Kamprad's creations radically changed how people made and designed products for the home.

The company's trademark item is traditional Swedish meatballs, but it also serves 100 million cups of coffee each year. "In the markets where we are now, I believe I've achieved that goal".

The first two initials may be a slight giveaway - they stand for his name Ingvar Kamprad (IK).