The Egyptian born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed has died in London at 94, his family announced on Friday
Al Fayed was at one time among the most high-profile businessmen in Britain. Aside from previously owning Fulham FC, he also was the former owner of luxury department store Harrods and the Paris Ritz.
He was the father of Dodi Fayed, who died with Princess Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997. He spent the rest of his life mourning the loss.
Mr Al-Fayed was born in Alexandria in Egypt and moved to London in the 1960s where he set about building his empire.
As a boy, he regularly skipped school to do odd jobs, selling soft drinks in the streets or sewing machines door-to-door.
He began investing in UK companies after relocating a shipping company he had founded with his brothers from Egypt to Europe.
Mr Rowland later complained that the Al-Fayeds had misrepresented their wealth and background to secure the deal, achieved through a takeover of Harrods’ parent company, House of Fraser.
The eldest son of a teacher, he grew up in the city, where his commercial enterprise shone even in his school days as he turned his hand to selling home-made lemonade. He married Khashoggi in 1954 and was employed in a trading company managed by her brother Adnan, a successful businessman and at one point the world’s wealthiest arms dealer. Al-Fayed then set up a shipping firm in Egypt with his brothers and spent time in Genoa and London expanding the venture.
As owner of Fulham FC from 1997 to 2013, he was credited with turning around the football club’s fortunes. He also owned tens of thousands of acres of land in the Scottish Highlands.
Later, he would become known for bitter clashes with Britain’s royal family after the death of Princess Diana and his son.
Mr Al-Fayed was convinced that Dodi and Princess Diana had been killed in a conspiracy by a royal family that could not countenance the divorced princess marrying a Muslim.