(WJBK) - Amway co-founder Richard M. DeVos has died at the age of 92, family said Thursday.
The Grand Rapids-born billionaire died peacefully at his home in Ada, Mich., surrounded by family. He died from complications from an infection.
DeVos was a pioneer of the selling method Amway, which allows individuals to build businesses of their one, and senior chairman of the Orlando Magic NBA franchise. He was well known as a generous philanthropist with his late wife, Helen.
A statement from his family: Dick, Dan, Cheri, Doug
"Dad spread positivity everywhere he went and encouraged everyone he met. He did that for his children and grandchildren, and for countless others around the world. His positivity was a constant, motivating force that inspired many others to make meaningful changes in their own lives and communities. He was a visionary leader, builder, life enricher, motivator, and a champion for people from all walks of life.
"Rich DeVos was many things to many people, but to us he was simply "Dad," "Grandpa," "Bumpa," or "Papa Great." We are deeply grateful and blessed beyond measure to have been loved unconditionally, raised, mentored, and inspired by him. He was a role model unlike any other."
DeVos was both a community leader and a philanthropist, volunteering his time to a number of causes with Helen. He was in the revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids as chairman of the New Grand Rapids Committee in the 1970s, including the construction of the DeVos Performance Hall.
He and Amway co-founder and longtime friend Jay Van Andel transformed the former Pantlind Hotel into the Amway Grand Plaza, and spearheaded the Amway-owned JW Marriott Hotel.
Other community projects included the DeVos Place Convention Center and the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
"Rich and my father built this company from the ground up, and in many ways Rich was the heart and soul of Amway," said Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel. "His vision and spirit inspired our employees and independent business owners for more than 50 years. No one even comes close to Rich in the love he inspired in the hearts and minds of our family of employees and business owners. We will miss him terribly."
DeVos authored five books: BELIEVE! (1975), Compassionate Capitalism (1993), Hope From My Heart (2000), Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People (2008), and Simply Rich (2014). Forbes listed him as the 60th-wealthiest person in the U.S. in 2012 with an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion.
DeVos was educated at Calvin College and served in WWII in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Grand Rapids Christian School Association, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, or Prison Fellowship Ministries.
To learn more about DeVos' legacy, visit RichDeVos.com.