Forrest E. Mars Jr., the billionaire scion of the Mars Inc., died Tuesday at the age of 84, the company confirmed in a statement Wednesday.
Mars is survived by his wife, four children, eleven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
He inherited the business together with his brother and sister and grew it into a confectionery empire.
"Forrest was a great inspiration to all of us at Mars, Incorporated," said Grant F. Reid, CEO and Office of the President for Mars, Incorporated. "He was instrumental in building our business, while remaining committed to the founding principles of the Company. Forrest will be sorely missed, but his contributions and the legacy he leaves behind at Mars will be long-lasting."
Mars began his career in 1955 as a certified public accountant, working as an auditor for Price Waterhouse after serving in the United States Army for two years. He joined Mars, Incorporated - then, a business of less than $100 million in revenue - as a Financial Staff Officer for M&M's Candies in 1959.
Two years later, Mars was appointed General Manager of a new confectionery factory — now one of the largest chocolate factories in the world — in Veghel, Netherlands. Over the next two decades Mars exploded expanding Mars presence globally.
According to Forbes magazine, the Mars family, with an estimated worth of $78 billion, is the third-richest in the United States, behind only the Waltons of Walmart and the Kochs of Koch Industries.