Vichai, 60, and four other people were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed near a car park just outside of the stadium shortly after taking off from the pitch. On Sunday evening, Leicester City confirmed the loss of its owner.
“It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium,” the club said in a statement.
Leicestershire police have named the other four passengers as the two pilots and two members of Vichai’s staff. Leicester City’s owner had been known to use the helicopter on matchdays to travel between the stadium and London.
Vichai was ranked the 5th wealthiest person on the Thai Rich List in May, with a fortune estimated at $5.2 billion. His business empire was primarily based on King Power, the country’s leading operator of duty-free stores.
Born Vichai Raksriaksorn, he switched his last name when the monarchy bestowed upon him the honorific Srivaddhanaprabha, which means “light of progressive glory.”
King Power was started in the late 1980s when Vichai partnered with a group from Hong Kong, bought a concession to sell duty-free goods and later opened up his first duty-free store in Bangkok.
King Power once was a public company listed on the American Stock Exchange, with operations in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Cambodia. Vichai and other Thai shareholders fought a two-year legal battle and spent millions to buy back the company from other shareholders and take it private in 2003.
Another turning point came in 2006, when King Power was granted the concession to operate the bustling duty-free stores and retail shops at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by the government of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Although the company’s contract is due to end in 2020, King Power has already grown to reach $3.3 billion in annual revenues.
Vichai had also owned a minority stake in the Thai unit of AirAsia, the budget carrier controlled by Malaysia’s flamboyant businessman Tony Fernandes. Outside of his home country, Vichai was best know for his purchase of the middling, debt-ridden English football club Leicester City in 2010 that made sporting history six years later by clinching the English Premier League championship, the club’s first in its 132-year history.
After learning news of the tragedy, Vardy posted on Instagram: “Struggling to find the right words…But to me you are legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club. Thank you for everything you did for me, my family and our club. I will truly miss you…. may you rest in peace…#theboss”
Leicester City fans visited the stadium on Sunday to bring flowers and scarves bearing the club’s emblem along with messages of gratitude to Vichai’s family.
Read the full article here .