Gilberto Benetton, the co-founder of his family's fashion empire who helped shape the company into one of Italy's biggest, has died aged 77.
Gilberto died at his home in Treviso, northeast Italy, following a brief illness, the Benetton Group said in a statement provided to media.
'His wife Lalla, daughters Barbara and Sabrina and son-in-law Ermanno were with him in his final moments, ' the statement continued.
His death comes just three months after that of younger brother Carlo in July.
He, with brothers Luciano and Carlo and sister Giuliana, founded United Colors of Benetton in Italy in the 1960s. Their sweaters proved popular items in local stores and a brand was born. Their signature soft wool jumpers made in a variety of colors quickly seduced the masses.
A Benetton clothing store in 2011 covered by posters showing Pope Benedict XVI kissing Egypt's Ahmed el Tayyeb, imam of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, and USA president Barack Obama.
One of its most celebrated posters featured a black woman breastfeeding a white baby in 1989, shot by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani.
United Colours of Benetton has recorded dwindling sales since its heydey, and the family have sought to spread their investments.
Over the years, the family became more involved in financial investments through the Edizione holding company, including in Autostrade SpA, which has been under pressure since the collapse of a Genoa highway bridge in August killed 43 people.
Edizione a year ago booked annual revenue of 12.1 billion euros ($13.8 billion) from a business empire that stretches far beyond trendy tops to include telecoms, toll roads, catering and agriculture.
Gilberto was also vice-president of Autogrill, an Italian-based multinational good and drink company.an Italian-based multinational good and drink company.
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