Patrick Ricard, who built Pernod Ricard SA (Paris: RI) into the second-largest alcohol beverage company in the world, died Friday, the company said.

Ricard, 67, was chairman of Pernod Ricard and a son of the founder of the Ricard company, which merged to form the Pernod Ricard company in 1975. He was formerly the CEO of the company until 2008, when he was replaced by Pierre Pringuet, and he remained on the board.

The cause of death was thought to be a heart attack, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Pernod Ricard owns brands including Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whisky and Malibu Rum. The UK's Diageo PLC (London: DGE) is the only alcoholic beverage company in the world that is larger than Pernod Ricard.

In February, the company raised its forcast for organic operating profit growth in the fiscal year ended in June to 8 percent on the strength of growth in emerging markets, including China. In the fiscal half-year ended in January, profit increased 17 percent, beating estimates. Revenue was 4.6 billion euros ($6 billion), up 7.8 percent from the previous year.

Pernod Ricard shares closed down 1.18 percent to 86.23 euros on Friday.