Richest Woman in the World, Liliane Bettencourt, Dies at 94

Liliane Bettencourt.

Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oréal fortune, has died at the age of 94. At the time of her death, Bettencourt was the 14th richest person in the world — and the richest woman, with an estimated net worth of $39.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Bettencourt, whose father founded the beauty giant, had rarely been seen in public since leaving the company’s board in 2012, Agence France-Presse reports. But the heiress made headlines in recent years because of disputes over her ability to handle her finances — and one of the biggest trials in French history. In May 2015, eight men — including a photographer whom she reportedly gave an estimated 1 billion euros’ worth of goods and money, including artworks of Matisse, Picasso, and Man Ray — were found guilty of taking advantage of Bettencourt, who suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Her daughter Françoise Bettencourt Meyers said in a Thursday statement, “Liliane Bettencourt died last night at home. My mother left peacefully.” L’Oréal chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon also issued a statement about the loss: “We all had a deep admiration for Liliane Bettencourt who has always watched over L’Oréal, the company and its employees, and who was very attached to its success and development. She personally contributed a lot to its success for very many years. A great woman of beauty has left us and we will never forget her.”

Richest Woman in the World, Liliane Bettencourt, Dies at 94