World's richest woman Liliane Bettencourt dies aged 94

Liliane Bettencourt heiress to the L'Oreal fortune won the L'Oreal-UNESCO prize for women in Paris

Liliane Bettencourt heiress to the L'Oreal fortune won the L'Oreal-UNESCO prize for women in Paris

In this Wednesday Jan. 26, 2011file photo, l'Oreal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt attends Franck Sorbier's spring/summer 2011 Haute Couture fashion collection, in Paris, Paris.

Today, the richest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt, passed away at the age of 94.

Walmart heiress Alice Walton has become the world's richest woman following the death of Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetic company.

In 2008 Bettencourt-Meyers, who is on the L'Oreal board, filed a lawsuit against her mother over funds the magnate had given to a celebrity photographer and confidant. Forbes magazine estimated her fortune to be worth $39.5 billion this year.

Bettencourt long enjoyed the company of artists, and her Bettencourt-Schueller foundation funded a range of films and art projects over the years, in addition to medical research and literacy projects. He died in 2007.

She inherited L'Oreal after her father died in 1957 and ran the company for more than five decades.

The heiress and her daughter owned 33 percent of the company at the time of her death and Francoise said in her statement about her mother's death that the family "remain committed to L'Oreal and its management team".

Over the past years, Bettencourt was involved in a number of court battles.

Francois-Marie Banier, of manipulating the elderly widow into giving him artwork and cash. The statement issued by her family states she "died in peace". She stepped down at 89, and was replaced by her grandson amid a bitter legal dispute with her daughter, who argued Bettencourt was not mentally competent to handle her own affairs.

Sarkozy himself was cleared in 2013 of preliminary charges.

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