Michele Ferrero, the world’s richest confectionery maker whose Nutella chocolate and hazelnut spread helped raise generations of Italians and define Italian sweets, has died, he was 89.
Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, praised Ferrero as one of the protagonists of Italian industry, “always ahead of his time thanks to innovative products and his tenacious and reserved work”.
His father Pietro started making Nutella when cocoa was still rationed during the second world war.
Michele Ferrero's son, Giovanni, told the BBC last year: "My grandfather lived to find this formula. He was completely obsessed by it... he woke up my grandmother at midnight - she was sleeping - and he made her taste it with spoons, asking, 'How was it?' and 'What do you think?'"
Michele Ferrero turned the paste into the Nutella now known the world over, produced in 11 factories and sold in 160 countries. The first pot was made in 1964.
Giovanni Ferrero became chief executive of the firm after his older brother Pietro died of a suspected heart attack while cycling in South Africa in 2011. The Ferrero group employs more than 22,000 workers and has sales per year of more than €8bn (£5.9bn).
Forbes magazine described Mr Ferrero as "the richest candyman on the planet", putting him and his family in 30th place on their list of the world's wealthiest people, with wealth of $23.4bn (£14.9bn).