World richest woman Liliane Bettencourt dies at 94

Giorgio Armani Prive: Front Row - Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture S/S 2012

L’Oreal heiress and world’s richest woman Liliane Bettencourt died at her home in Paris on Sept. 20, her daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Myers, said in a statement. She was 94.

Bettencourt had reportedly been battling dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

She was the richest woman in the world, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of about $45 billion.

As of 2015, she retained a controlling 33% stake in cosmetics firm L’Oreal.

Bettencourt began working for her father’s company at age 15 and inherited it in 1957, when after his death.

“In this painful moment for us, I would like to reiterate, on behalf of our family, our entire commitment and loyalty to L’Oreal and to renew my confidence in its President Jean-Paul Agon and his teams worldwide,” Bettencourt-Myers said.

“We all had a deep admiration for Liliane Bettencourt who has always watched over L’Oreal, the company and its employees, and who was very attached to its success and development,” Agon said, The Telegraph reported.

“A great woman of beauty has left us and we will never forget her,” he said.

Bettencourt was embroiled in a feud with her daughter after she gave nearly 1 billion euros worth of gifts to celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier.

Her daughter filed a criminal suit against Banier claiming that he had exploited her then 84-year-old mother’s health to obtain part of her fortune.

Banier was found guilty of taking advantage of Bettencourt’s dementia and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was ordered to pay Bettencourt $172 million. His sentence was ultimately reduced to four years suspended.

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