Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Colombia's second-richest person with an empire that reached into beer, aviation, media and forestry, died in New York on Friday at age 87, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.
Forbes listed him as the 108th wealthiest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $8.4 billion as of March 2011, making him the second wealthiest Colombian after construction and banking magnate Luis Carlos Sarmiento.
Santo Domingo's holdings included the Bavaria brewery, the Avianca airline, now owned by Brazil's German Efromovich, Caracol radio and television, banking, autos and telecommunications, though he was no longer involved in day-to-day operations in recent years.
In 2005, he traded control of Bavaria for a 15 percent stake in global beer giant SABMiller, a stake worth some $8 billion, Forbes said.
Santos praised Santo Domingo for aiding the development of Colombia, the fourth largest South American economy.
This is really a great loss and we lament this sad news, Santos told a business meeting in the Colombian city of Cartagena.