Otto Beisheim Suicide: Billionaire Metro Founder Commits Suicide After Incurable Illness Diagnosis

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 20, 2013 12:32 AM EST

Otto Beisheim, one of the founders of retail group Metro (MEO.DE), committed suicide Monday after the German billionaire was diagnosed with an incurable illness.

Beisheim, 89, was diagnosed with a terminal illness which led to his suicide on Monday. According to a statement, his body was found near his home in Bavaria on Monday morning.

"He was suffering from an incurable disease and departed this life due to the hopelessness of his health situation," a statement from the Otto Beisheim group read.

The Beisheim Group said there are no immediate plans to sell the 10 percent stake in Metro, the world’s fourth largest retailer, owned by the German billionaire, the third largest shareholder.

"Otto Beisheim was a pioneer and a legend in the German and international retail world ... with innovation, courage and ambition, he founded one of the world's leading retail firms," Metro said in a statement.

Beisheim’s net worth was estimated at $3.3 billion by Forbes in March 2012, making him the 344th richest person in the world and the 22nd richest in Germany. A widower, whose wife Inge died in 1999, had no children. Reuters reported his assets will be divided between two foundations “to foster cultural and business projects.”

According to Metro, Beisheim introduced Germany to “cash and carry,” a type of wholesale from which goods are sold in bulk to trade customers.

"With his self-service cash-and-carry concept, he revolutionized the sector in the mid 1960s," Metro Chief Executive Olaf Koch said in a statement.

Beisheim created the first cash and carry in Muelheim an der Ruhr in western Germany in 1964 after its success in the U.S. before taking his concept throughout Europe and then abroad to China.

However, it was not all innovation for Beisheim who was a member of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen-SS, though the Beisheim Group said he was a low-ranking member of the regime and moved divisions in 1942.

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