Billionaire Richard DeVos (pictured in 2007) died on Thursday at the age of 92
Billionaire Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct sales giant Amway, owner of Orlando Magic and father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, died Thursday. He was 92 years old.
The family spokesman, Nick Wasmiller, said that DeVos died at his home in Ada, Michigan, due to complications of an infection.
DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He started Amway together with his friend, Jay Van Andel, in 1959. DeVos served as president of the company until 1993.
The DeVos family bought the Orlando Magic from the NBA in 1991.
After the news of the death of DeVos, the NBA team expressed their condolences on Twitter.
"It is with great sadness that we announce, Orlando Magic's principal president Richard M. DeVos passed away today at the age of 92. #LoveYaRich," the tweet said.
Magic CEO Alex Martins also said in a statement that DeVos' unlimited generosity, inspiring leadership and contagious enthusiasm will always be remembered.
"She was simply the number one cheerleader on the team and the best owner a Magic fan could want for her team," Martins added.
The DeVos family bought the Orlando Magic from the NBA in 1991. DeVos appears alongside retired NBA star Darrell Armstrong in 2002.
After the news of the death of DeVos, the NBA team expressed their condolences on Twitter
"When the DeVos family bought the Magic, their vision was that the team and the organization would serve as a platform to improve the central Florida community."
DeVos and Van Andel obtained $ 49 in 1949 and invested the modest amount in the manufacturer and direct seller of Nutrilite vitamins.
They became independent vitamin distributors and later used the company's person-to-person sales approach when starting Amway in Ada with a multi-purpose cleaning product.
For five decades, Amway became a multi-million dollar international corporation.
"Rich and my father built this company from scratch, and in many ways Rich was the heart and soul of Amway," said Steve Van Andel, president of Amway.
"His vision and spirit inspired our employees and independent business owners for more than 50 years."
DeVos and his late wife, Helen, donated to Christian churches and ministries and various other causes through their Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.
He was a lifelong supporter of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.
– Sir. and Mrs. DeVos had hearts for the ministry, "said Dr. Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
"They passionately cared about meeting the needs of the children, equipping the Christian leaders, strengthening the churches and building the kingdom of Christ, we have lost a ministerial partner with the death of Mr. DeVos," added Timmermans.
He also helped in the revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids, including the restoration of what is now the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
DeVos was a great supporter of the Republican Party and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Presidential Commission on AIDS in 1987.
He is survived by his five children, two sisters and several grandchildren.
The services have not been finalized.