Ikea store
(Image credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty Images)

Ingvar Kamprad, the billionaire founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, died at his home in Smaland, Sweden, on Saturday, the company announced Sunday. He was 91.

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Kamprad started Ikea in 1943 at age 17, but it wasn't until 1956 that he hit upon the store's trademark flat-packing system to cut costs by reducing transit space. He maintained a frugal lifestyle even after becoming wealthy, flying economy and buying his clothes at flea markets.

In his later years, Kamprad came under fire for youthful involvement in a Swedish nationalist group linked to the Nazis. He apologized, calling his actions "stupidity" and his "greatest mistake."

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"Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind, hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye," said a statement from Ikea on Sunday. "He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done."

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