The notoriously reclusive family of billionaire Berthold Albrecht stunned the business world on Friday by announcing that one of world’s richest men had died at the age of 58 sometime in November. No cause of death was given in the full page announcement printed in several German newspapers. It is believed Mr. Albrecht had been seriously ill in recent months.
The late billionaire’s wife Babette spoke fondly of her late husband in the announcement:
“Berthold Albrecht was a very loving and extremely generous human being, an exemplary husband and father. He was a fighter, never losing hope right to the end.”
Albrecht and his surviving brother, Theo Jr. were heirs to the company that owns American grocery chain Trader Joe’s and European Supermarket giant Aldi. The two brother’s fortune was estimated at $17.8 billion, according to Forbes. They were ranked 32 in the list of Forbes billionaires and second for Germany. Berthold was the son of Aldi co-founder Theo Albrecht, who died at the age of 88 in July of 2010.
Theo Albrecht Sr. and his brother Karl took their mother’s small grocery store in Essen and turned the shop into an international food conglomerate with annual sales in excess of $65 billion. The two founders split Germany into north and south, with Theo handling the northern territory and Karl the southern reigon of the country. Karl, 92, is the richest man in Germany with a fortune of $24.5 billion.
Mr. Albrecht was buried last month after a private ceremony attended by family and a few close friends. In his professional life, he worked on the Board of Directors of Aldi North.
Prior to his death, Berthold’s Albrecht’s primary role was to oversee the operation of Trader Joe’s. Sebastian Frericks, an analyst at Frankfurt-based Bankhaus Metzler, commented on the impact of Albrecht’s death on the company.
‘This isn’t going to change a lot at Aldi Nord. His brother Theo was closer to managing the business. Berthold had been sick for a while.”