Billionaire fashion giant Gilberto Benetton dies aged 77

Billionaire fashion magnate Gilberto Benetton who founded the high-end fashion group that owns Sisley has died aged 77.

The businessman, who was worth almost $3 billion, battled a short illness but died earlier today in Treviso, north-east Italy, his family said.

The father-of-two founded global fashion brand Benetton Group with his two brothers in 1965.

They saw it grow into one of the largest high-end fashion companies in the world, with more than 5,000 stores and 7,000 employees.

It later acquired clothing line Sisley and became famous for its brightly coloured sweaters in the 1980s and 1990s.

Gilberto’s brother Carlo died earlier this year but the family has become one of Italy’s richest.

It since diversified into construction, transport and catering and now control travel caterer Autogrill and Rome’s airports.

But Gilberto was the former head of family holding company Edizione, which controls Italy’s biggest infrastructure group Atlantia.

As the only member of the family on the Atlantia board, the businessman faced a major crisis when a bridge in Genoa operated by a unit of Atlantia collapsed in August , killing 43 people.

In a statement, the chairman of Atlantia, Fabio Cerchiai, and CEO Giovanni Castellucci said they shared the family’s pain at Gilberto’s death.

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