Luxottica founder Leonardo Del Vecchio dies in Italy at 87

Italy bids farewell to leading business figure.

Leonardo Del Vecchio, the Italian founder of Luxottica and president of EssilorLuxottica, the world's largest producer and retailer of glasses and frames, has died in Italy aged 87.

The self-made billionaire tycoon passed away at the S. Raffaelle hospital in Milan on Monday morning, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Del Vecchio was born into poverty in Milan in 1935, spending part of his childhood in an orphanage, and as a teenager he worked by day and attended school at night.

His rags-to-riches tale saw him set up a small factory in Agordo in northern Italy in 1961, at the age of 26, making parts for eyewear manufacturers before selling complete spectacle frames under the Luxottica brand in 1967.

It was to be the beginning of a global empire which saw Luxottica acquire the Ray-Ban brand and join forces with France's Essilor in a massive merger in 2018.

In April 2021 Bloomberg Billionaires estimated Del Vecchio's net worth to be $32.7 billion, making him the second richest man in Italy and the 41st richest in the world.

Del Vecchio was married three times and has six children.