Lebanese-Brazilian banking magnate Joseph Safra, the wealthiest man in Brazil, died Thursday at age 82 of natural causes, his bank said.

Safra, who had an estimated fortune of $23.2 billion, ranked 63rd on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest people.

Born in 1938 to a Lebanese Jewish family in Beirut, he emigrated with his family to Brazil, where his father founded what would become Banco Safra.

In 1962, he and his brothers took over the bank from their father, who died the following year.

They turned it into a major financial group, with operations in more than 25 countries.

A patron of the arts and philanthropist, Safra donated part of his fortune to medical research, and also purchased artworks for Sao Paulo’s Pinacoteca, one of the leading museums in Brazil.

AFP

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