Chocolate Tycoon Dies in Bike Accident
Ferrero SpA chief Pietro Ferrero dead at 47
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2011 11:15 AM CDT
Pietro Ferrero, CEO of Italian confectionery firm Ferrero SpA, has died in an accident in South Africa.   (AP Photo/Roberto Monaldo, Lapresse)

(Newser) – The heir to Italy's biggest fortune has died in a cycling accident in South Africa. Pietro Ferrero was chief executive of Ferrero SpA , maker of products including Ferrero Rocher chocolate, Tic-Tacs, and Nutella, which was invented by his grandfather in the family bakery during wartime when chocolate ingredients were in short supply. The 47-year-old fainted and fell off his bicycle during a routine ride, CNN reports.

Ferrero had traveled to South Africa with his father and dozens of company managers to work on opening a new factory and was often seen cycling with employees near the firm's headquarters, reports the New York Times. "Italy has lost a businessman who represented the best qualities of our economic history," Italy's foreign minister said in a statement. (Click for one take on why his death affects us so much.)