The world's richest woman dies

The world's richest woman dies

The world's richest woman dies

Liliane Bettencourt, the world's richest woman and heiress to the vast L'Oreal fortune, has died at her home aged 94.

The cosmetics giant's principal shareholder died at the age of 94.

Bettencourt had been declared unfit to run her own affairs in 2011 after a medical report showing she had suffered from "mixed dementia" and "moderately severe" Alzheimer's disease since 2006.

Bettencourt, listed by Bloomberg's Billionaires Index as the fifteenth richest person in the world with a total net worth of $42.5, and the world's richest woman, passed away on Wednesday, her family said.

She was born Liliane Schueller to L'Oreal founder Eugene Schueller and Louise Madeleine Berthe in Paris in 1922. She owned 33% of L'Oréal, which she inherited from her father in 1957.

"My mother left peacefully", her daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers said.

Her time at the helm of L'Oreal wasn't without controversy, with the company being accused of "destroying the planet" by the Ethecon Foundation who awarded the company the Black Planet Award in 2007.

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L'Oreal Chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon expressed "great admiration" for Bettencourt.

Over the past years, Bettencourt was involved in a number of court battles.

As the world's leading beauty company, L'Oreal generated sales amounting to 25.8 billion euros in 2016 and employs 89,300 people worldwide, according to the company.

In 1950, at the age of 28, she married Andre Bettencourt - a government minister of the 1960s and '70s under former president Charles de Gaulle.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy was included in a subsequent probe into whether he exploited Ms Bettencourt's mental frailty to fund his victorious 2007 election campaign.

Eight members of Bettencourt's entourage were convicted in May 2015 of fleecing her, including photographer Francois-Marie Banier, who was given a four-year suspended prison sentence on appeal.

Sarkozy himself was cleared in 2013 of preliminary charges.

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