The World's Richest Woman, L'Oreal Heiress Liliane Bettencourt, Dies Aged 94

Bettencourt was worth an estimated $44.7 billion.

The world's richest woman, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, has died at 94.

Bettencourt died "peacefully" at her home in Neuilly-sur-Seine in France on Wednesday, her daughter said Thursday. No cause of death was given.

Bettencourt was worth an estimated $44.7 billion, Forbes reported.

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She was the only child of Eugene Schueller, who founded L'Oreal in the early 1900s. She joined the company as an apprentice at 15 and inherited its fortune after her father's death in 1957. She remained on the company's board until she was 89.

The Bettencourt family still owns 33.3 percent of L'Oreal, the largest cosmetics and beauty company in the world.

In a statement following news of her death, the company's chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon expressed "a deep admiration" for Bettencourt.

"She personally contributed a lot to [the company's] success for very many years," he said. "A great woman of beauty has left us and we will never forget her."

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Her personal affairs were thrown into the public eye when her daughter filed a complaint in 2007, claiming Bettencourt, who had dementia, was mentally unfit and that her friends had manipulated her. One of the friends was accused of swindling her out of $1 billion in gifts and cash and was handed jail time.

In 2011, a judge made Bettencourt’s daughter and her two grandsons guardians of her interests.

Bettencourt's husband, French politician Andre Bettencourt, died in 2007.

Bettencourt is survived by her daughter, Francoise.

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