Anita Roddick, founder of beauty retailer The Body Shop and one of Britain's best known businesswomen, has died at the age of
64 after suffering a major brain haemorrhage.
Roddick founded The Body Shop in Brighton in 1976, selling toiletries made from natural ingredients, and her brand became a byword for socially and environmentally responsible business.
The daughter of Italian immigrants, Roddick saw her business mushroom into an empire of more than 2,000 stores serving more than 77 million customers in 51 different markets. She sold her stake in The Body Shop to France's L'Oreal last year.
"Anita Roddick was admitted to St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, close to her home, yesterday evening when she collapsed after complaining of a sudden headache," her family said.
"Mrs Roddick was admitted to the hospital's Intensive Care Unit and her husband Gordon and two daughters, Sam and Justine, were with her when she died," it said.
A multi-millionaire, Roddick campaigned against human rights abuses and was an environmental activist.
The mission statement of The Body Shop was: "To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change."
Roddick said it was her mother's frugality during World War Two that inspired her to campaign for environmental issues and question retail conventions.
"We reused everything, we refilled everything and we recycled all we could. The foundation of The Body Shop's environmental activism was born out of ideas like these," she wrote on her Web site.
"The Body Shop is not, and nor was ever, a one-woman-show - it's a global operation with thousands of people working towards common goals and sharing common values," she said.
Roddick revealed earlier this year that she was suffering from liver damage after contracting the Hepatitis C virus more than 35 years ago and soon began campaigning for support for sufferers of the potentially deadly disease.
She developed Hepatitis C from infected blood given to her during the birth of her youngest daughter, Sam, in 1971.