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Thai billionaire who founded Red Bull dies at 89

BANGKOK -- The self-made Thai billionaire who created the renowned Red Bull energy drink three decades ago has died, state media in Thailand reported Saturday. He was 89.

Thai state television broadcaster MCOT said that Chaleo Yoovidhya died of natural causes on Saturday. It cited an executive at the Thai Beverage Industry Association.


The Bangkok Post reported that he died at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn Hospital.

Chaleo founded T.C. Pharmaceuticals. In the 1970s, it formulated an energy drink prototype called Krathing Daeng, or Red Bull in English. It was popular among Thai truck drivers and laborers.

Chaleo then co-founded a company in 1984 with an Austrian partner who helped turn Red Bull into a global brand.

Chaleo was the 205th richest man in the world with a net worth of $5 billion, according to Forbes magazine's 2012 ranking. The Bangkok Post said that he was the third richest man in Thailand.

Religious rites were expected to begin Sunday and continue through until March 24 at Wat Kreuwal Voraviharn, the newspaper said.

Msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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