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Who Was Austrian Billionaire and Red Bull Founder Dietrich 'Didi' Mateschitz? Mateschitz is remembered as the branding guru who revolutionized the sponsorship industry by marketing Red Bull to extreme sports.

By Sam Silverman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Photo by Jerry Andre ATPImages/Getty Images

Red Bull announced in a company-wide email Saturday that its owner and co-founder, Dietrich "Didi" Mateschitz, has died at age 78.

"In these moments, the over-riding feeling is one of sadness," the email read, according to CNN. "But soon the sadness will make way for gratitude – gratitude for what he changed, moved, encouraged and made possible for so many individual people. We will remain connected to him respectfully and lovingly."

Mateschitz started developing his product in 1984 after discovering a caffeinated beverage could ease jetlag before taking it to market in 1987, according to Bloomberg.

Mateschitz is remembered as a fierce business leader who turned Red Bull into a beverage conglomerate that sells tens of millions of cans each day. He's also known for marketing to (and partnering with) extreme sports leagues and their athletes.

His extreme sports sponsorships also include Red Bull's two Formula 1 teams – senior team Red Bull and junior team AlphaTauri – which have won six Formula 1 drivers' titles.

"He was an incredible visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped to transform our sport and created the Red Bull brand that is known all around the world," Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said in a statement per Reuters.

Who Was Dietrich Mateschitz?

Dietrich Mateschitz was born in Austria in 1944. After graduating from the Vienna University of Economics and Business, he worked in marketing before starting Red Bull and crafting the company's signature slogan: "Red Bull Gives You Wings."

Red Bull outsources the production of its products to Austrian juice maker Rauch Fruchtsaefte GmbH & Co, per Bloomberg, which allows the brand to use its resources on marketing including athletic sponsorships from skydiving to soccer.

In 2004, Mateschitz bought the Ford-owned Jaguar Formula 1 team and transformed it into the Red Bull Racing team it is today, according to Reuters.

Apart from his business endeavors, Dietrich Mateschitz was known for being a very private public figure. As a father of one, he rarely spoke publicly about his son, Mark, nor his longtime girlfriend Marion Feichtner.

What Was Dietrich Mateschitz's Cause of Death?

The Red Bull co-founder died at age 78. Although Red Bull didn't disclose the entrepreneur's cause of death in the company's statement to employees, Sky News reported that Mateschitz's death comes after a "serious illness with cancer."

News of Mateschitz's death came as his senior race team was about to qualify for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, where they are up for a fifth constructors' championship, which judges the craftmanship of each car based on its season performance.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner spoke to Sky Sports News moments after hearing the news before the race, saying the team plans to "do our best for him" in their upcoming races.

"It is important that we celebrate and recognize the contribution that he has made," Horner added. "Quite a remarkable man, an inspiration, and one that we owe a huge amount."

What Was Dietrich Mateschitz's Net Worth?

Thanks to his Red Bull empire, Mateschitz had an estimated net worth of $15 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which includes multiple castles and villas across Austria.

Red Bull's most recent reported revenue was $6.1 billion in 2020, per Bloomberg.

Sam Silverman

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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