The global wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard is in mourning, with no details yet for succession, after the sudden death of chairman and former chief executive Patrick Ricard.
He was 67 and is thought to have suffered a heart attack.
Ricard has transformed the firm from a mostly French based seller of aniseed-flavoured liqueur pastis into a group with 7.6 billion euros in worldwide sales last year.
Ricard was the son of Paul Ricard, who first marketed pastis in 1932, and founded the eponymous company which merged in 1975 with its competitor Pernod to create Pernod Ricard.
Patrick Ricard, who joined the company in 1967, had been chairman of the board since 1978 and was also its chief executive officer until 2008.
Pernod Ricard owns the Ballantine’s, Mumm, and Chivas brands among others and employs 18,000 people worldwide. It also produces Absolut Vodka, Martell cognac, Perrier-Jouet champagne and Glenlivet whisky.