Dietrich Mateschitz, who became Austria’s richest man peddling Red Bull to the masses and harnessing the popularity of the energy drink to build a sports-marketing empire spanning Formula 1, soccer and mountain biking, has died. He was 78.
Red Bull announced his death to employees in a statement late Saturday, without providing details.
Known as Didi, Mateschitz co-founded Red Bull GmbH in 1984 with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya after discovering that the caffeinated beverage eased his jet lag during a trip to Asia. Based in Fuschl am See, a sleepy village on the outskirts of Salzburg, the company started selling the soft drink in 1987, expanding into neighboring countries in the following years.