Billionaire Red Bull Founder Dies in Thailand

March 18, 2012 Updated: March 19, 2012

The founder of the Red Bull energy drink, Chaleo Yoovidhya, the third richest man in Thailand, died in a Thai hospital on Saturday, according to local reports. He was 89.

Chaleo was estimated to have amassed a fortune of around $5 billion, mainly due to heavy marketing of Red Bull, according to Forbes magazine. He was the 205th richest person in the world.

Known in Thailand as “Krating Daeng,” Red Bull was first invented in 1976 by Chaleo, who marketed it aggressively to people inside Thailand, according to the Bangkok Post.

Later on, he started marketing it outside of Thailand, to Turkey, Russia, India, China, and Japan, eventually making it to the United States by the 1990s. According to his biography, he said that Red Bull made him around $375,000 per day on average.

The energy drink has been promoted internationally through a Formula One racing team as well as in the United States via the New York Red Bulls soccer team. Red Bull also has media properties in Europe such as Red Bulletin magazine and Red Bull Servus TV.

Chaleo was born the third of five children to a poor Chinese family who moved to Thailand in search of a better life. He and his siblings had to work from a young age to ensure that the family survived.