Rosalia Mera, the co-founder of the Spanish fashion giant that owns Zara, Spain’s richest woman, and the world’s richest self-made woman, has died.
According to Spanish media, she suffered a stroke while on holiday in Menorca. She was transferred on Thursday from the hospital in Menorca to the private San Rafael Hospital in La Coruna, where she died at 8.30pm local time, according to newspaper reports.
Rosalia Mera Goyenechea was born on January 28, 1944, in La Coruna in Spain’s Galicia region. The self-made billionaire began her career as a seamstress at age 11, when she dropped out of school to work as a tailor in a clothing shop.
Mera married Amancio Ortega in 1966 and nine years later they opened the first Zara store in La Coruna. Zara expanded worldwide and over the years, Mera helped build the company into one of the world’s biggest retailers. She and Ortego went on to found Inditex, which also owns the Massimo Dutti and Bershka brands.
In a statement, Inditex said: “The group wishes to send its sincere condolences to her loved ones and friends at this extremely difficult time, after the loss of a person who contributed so much to the origins and development of the company.”
Rosalia Mera had a rags to riches backstory, and that seems to have shaped her belief that the money of millionaires, or even billionaires like her.
She left the board of directors of Inditex in 2004 but still owned a near 7% stake in the company, according to the the newspaper El Pais.