Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

"Ingvar Kamprad has peacefully passed away in his home" in southern Sweden, Ikea announced on its Twitter account.

Ingvar Kamprad died Saturday at the age of 91.

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish multinational furniture retailer IKEA, is seen at company's head office in Almhult, Sweden, Aug. 6, 2002.

For decades, the company seemed to be thriving under his watch, as it avoided controversy and seemed to instill in its employees a near-fanatical devotion to Kamprad. Mr Kamprad eventually stepped down from the company's board in 2013, at the age of 87.

Sam and Natalie laugh at jokes made after it was announced the IKEA founder had died.

A report by the Green party in European Parliament previous year said Ikea avoided one billion euros ($1.2 billion) in EU taxes between 2009 to 2014.

He was forced to apologize for his time as a member of the New Swedish Movement, a nationalist, far-right group that supported fascist parties around Europe, in the 1940s.

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Kamprad's legacy of creating affordable furniture has earned him admiration among consumers around the world. Kamprad flirted with fascism in his youth and attended meetings of a Nazi group led by Swedish right-wing activist Per Engdahl in the years immediately after World War II. The Ikea founder said he stopped attending its meetings in 1948.

Kamprad started the business in Sweden in 1943, when he was just 17.

Clever design and modest prices coupled with appealing styles quickly caught on and IKEA's warehouse-like stores now sell everything from TVs to fitted kitchens. He later sold flower seeds, Christmas tree decorations, greeting cards, and even pencils and ballpoint pens to make money, according to the Ikea website. The lighting bulb moment came when he saw an employee taking the legs off a table to fit it into a customer's auto.

In 2017, 403 Ikea stores in nearly 50 countries received more than 900 million visitors, and the chain generated sales of $47.6 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Almost two decades later, a book by Swedish journalist Elisabeth Asbrink extended the claims, linking Kamprad to a group that succeeded the country's swastika-flying National Socialist Workers Party.

"If you look at me now, I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market", he said. "It means that I want to set a good example", he told Swedish channel TV4 in 2016.

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