IKEA's found has passed away

IKEA's found has passed away

The man who founded IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, has died.

The company said in a statement that Kamprad "passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones" at his home in the southern Swedish region of Smaland on Saturday "following a brief illness".

Known for his humble style and nearly religious devotion to simplicity and efficiency, Kamprad founded IKEA at the tender age of 17 and first sold matchboxes, fish, Christmas tree decorations, and pens.

The European Commission a year ago launched an investigation into ways IKEA allegedly used a Dutch subsidiary to avoid taxes, with the Green Party contending the company avoided $1.2 billion in European Union taxes between 2009 and 2014.

Ikea's value has tripled since 2000 and is now worth US$18.5 billion (RM71.6 billion), according to global brand consultancy Interbrand's 2017 rankings - two spots behind fellow Swedish giant H&M.

Yet there was one more crucial element to come - the concept of flat-pack furniture.

In 1947, the young Kamprad started selling furniture made by local artisans, and four years later he began putting out the first of his mail order catalogues - which now have an annual print run of 200 million copies in 33 languages.

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The Ikea name comes from Kamprad's initials, as well as the first letters of the farm he grew up on, Elmtaryd, and the nearby village Agunnaryd.

IKEA celebrates its Swedish heritage: Its stores are painted blue and yellow like the Swedish flag and serve meatballs and other traditional Swedish food. Kamprad said he stopped attending its meetings in 1948, later attributing his involvement to the "folly of youth", and calling it "the greatest mistake of my life".

Sweden was neutral in World War II, and its Nazi party remained active after 1945.

Ingvar Kamprad posing for a photo with an Ikea staffer.

"He wanted to appear a man of the people, one of us", Stenebo wrote in a behind-the-scenes book, "The Truth About Ikea", released shortly after he left the company almost a decade ago.

Mr Kamprad was known for being frugal, despite his wealth.He reportedly drove an old Volvo, travelled by economy class and brought a lunch box to work. "If you look at me now, I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market'". "It means that I want to set a good example", he told Swedish channel TV4 in 2016.

He left the country in 1976 for Switzerland in protest of his homeland's crippling taxes - the highest in the world at the time. This was part of moves to hand responsibilities over to one of his sons.

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