German billionaire Berthold Albrecht, who was heir to half of supermarket Aldi, has died at age 58.
The reclusive billionaire is estimated to be worth $10.7 billion according to Bloomberg, placing him among the world’s richest 100 people.
Albrecht was buried last month in a private ceremony attended by close family and friends, although his death has only just been announced. This is in keeping with the death two years ago of his father, Theo Albrecht, which was also announced a month after it occurred.
Theo and his brother Karl turned the supermarket founded by their mother into a global empire using a low-cost business model.
Aldi is now the world’s 10th biggest retailer and the privately owned discount supermarket has annual sales of $67.1 billion.
The whole family is notoriously reclusive, after Theo was kidnapped for seven days in 1971.
Karl bargained to reduce the multi-million ransom demanded by the kidnappers and the Aldi heirs’ frugal approach to life was highlighted when Theo famously tried to claim a tax rebate for the ransom payment.
His rebate application was denied. But other instances of Theo’s cost-cutting include reportedly using two-inch pencil stubs to take notes in a business meeting, and writing to a manager to complain that the company’s stationery was too thick and too expensive.
Karl is still alive and at 92 is the world’s 21st richest person, worth $22.5 billion according to Bloomberg.
Berthold Albrecht sat on the board of the company as the chairman of a family foundation that owns Aldi.
A full page death notice was placed by Albrecht’s wife Babette in the Handelsblatt newspaper this week but it did not mention the place or cause of his death.
‘‘Berthold Albrecht was a very loving and extremely generous human being, an exemplary husband and father,’’ his wife said in the notice.
He was a ‘‘fighter, never losing hope right to the end.’’
Albrecht was father to five children, including quadruplets, three boys and a girl, born in 1990.