One of the fashion world’s veterans, Leonardo Del Vecchio, the founder of Luxottica eyewear, passed away at the age of 87 on June 27. 

Del Vecchio began his life at an orphanage in Milan, going on to becoming one of Italy’s richest industrialists. Initially, he founded the eyewear brand in 1961 to supply components of glasses, but it grew to acquire and host a variety of high-fashion brands over the years. On Forbes’ list of richest persons, Del Vecchio and his family ranked at No. 60, with a net worth of $24.5 billion, as of 2021. 

Italian designer Giorgio Armani was among those to pay tribute to Del Vecchio, with whom he had worked since the ‘80s. “Leonardo, how many discussions, how many conversations, so much honesty to make our dreams come true. So much loyalty. I’ve lost a friend, first, and a companion in this long professional adventure. Your passing afflicts me deeply. I hold your family close to my heart,” Armani wrote.

Luxottica either owns or has licenses for luxury eyewear brands, like Giorgio Armani, Versace, Miu Miu, Burberry, Prada, Coach, and Tiffany.  

“Leonardo Del Vecchio was a great Italian. His story, from orphanage to leadership of a business empire, seems like a story from another time. But it is an example for today and tomorrow. RIP,” European Economy Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter. 

The Italian media reported that the industrialist died at a Milan hospital. No cause of death was cited.