Brazilian entrepreneur Antonio Ermirio de Moraes died Aug. 24 of heart failure at his São Paulo home. He was 86.

After taking control of his family’s company, Grupo Votorantim, in the early 1970s, Ermirio de Moraes guided it through Brazil’s hyperinflation era, expanded it considerably and began its internationalization process.

Today, the conglomerate is present in more than 20 countries and employs some 43,000 workers worldwide. Mainly led by the family's fourth generation and a team of professional executives, it is the nation’s biggest cement maker and has interests in aluminum, pulp and paper, energy, agriculture and finance.

Grupo Votorantim said that Ermirio de Moraes was “an outstanding leader, who was an example and inspiration to the company’s values such as ethics, respect and entrepreneurship, who believed in the role of the private sector to build a better and fairer country, with health care and quality education for all.”

Ermirio de Moraes left Votorantim's board of directors and was rarely seen in public since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001. It’s reported that he owned about 25 percent of Grupo Votorantim when he died.

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