Maker of Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Tic-Tac dies at 89: Who was candyman magnate Michele Ferrero?

On Valentine's Day, Italy's richest man and chocolate maker Michele Ferrero died in Monte Carlo after months of illness.

The creator of Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Tic-Tac and other well-loved sweets was 89.

Here's more about the "candyman" and his global confectionary empire:

1. How Nutella came about

The Ferrero story began in 1946 in post-war Italy's northern Piedmont region, where Michele's parents transformed a small coffee bar and pastry shop into a sweets factory.

There was very little chocolate after the war, and cocoa was in short supply. His father, Pietro, was a pastry chef who created a spread that used hazelnuts to cut down on the cocoa required. Renamed Nutella in 1964, it is now the best-selling sweet spread in the world.

2. Other candy creations

The company introduced Kinder snacks in the 1960s, and Tic-Tac to the United States in 1969. Ferrero Rocher - the hazelnut and chocolate orbs with its distinctive gold packaging - was introduced in 1982.

More recent innovations include Gran Soleil, a dessert stored at room temperature that turns into an ice cream-like substance when shaken and frozen.

3. Italy's richest man

Ferrero's net worth of US$22.3 billion (S$30.2 billion) ranked him 31st on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as of February 2015. He was the world's 30th richest man according to Forbes.

His is the world's fifth-largest confectionery company by revenue after Mars, Mondelez International, Nestle and Meiji, according to Bloomberg. It is the world's fourth-largest according to Forbes.

4. Family business

His son Giovanni takes over the candy empire. From 1997, Giovanni and his brother Pietro had run Ferrero International jointly, but Pietro, the eldest, died at 47 in an accident in South Africa in 2011. He died while cycling on a coastal road near Cape Town from a suspected heart attack.

The company has been expanding in Asia, and is using Singapore as its springboard into the region. Turnover was over eight billion euros (S$12 billion) last year, and the group has 20 manufacturing units, 46 commercial units and six agricultural companies worldwide.

5. Work, Create, Donate

Ferrero's motto was "work create donate" and he is known for his generosity to his employees and for giving back to his community.

Sources: Straits Times, Business Times, Forbes, Bloomberg