Rosalia Mera, Spain's richest woman and co-founder of Zara dies
August 16, 2013 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
Rosalia Mera founded Zara with her then husband Amancio Ortega in 1975. It is one of the world's biggest retailers.
- Spanish media reported that Rosalia Mera had suffered a stroke while in Menorca
- The self-made billionaire was aged 69. She leaves behind two children, Sandra and Marcos.
- Mera and her ex-husband Amancio Ortega opened their first Zara store in Spain in 1975
- The clothing chain expanded worldwide, becoming one of the biggest retailers
(CNN) -- Rosalia Mera, Spain's richest woman and co-founder of the international clothing giant Zara, has died at the age of 69.
Spanish media reported that Mera suffered a stroke while on vacation on the Mediterranean island of Menorca. She was transferred on Thursday from the hospital in Menorca to the private San Rafael Hospital in La Coruna, where she died at 8.30pm local time, according to newspaper reports.
Zara's parent company, Inditex, said: "The group wishes to send its sincere condolences to [Mera's] loved ones and friends at this extremely difficult time, after the loss of a person who contributed so much to the origins and development of the company."
Rosalia Mera Goyenechea was born on January 28, 1944, in La Coruna in Spain's Galicia region. The self-made billionaire began her career as a seamstress at age 11, when she dropped out of school to work as a tailor in a clothing shop.
Mera married Amancio Ortega in 1966 and nine years later they opened the first Zara store in La Coruna. Zara expanded worldwide and over the years, Mera helped build the company into one of the world's biggest retailers. She and Ortego went on to found Inditex, which also owns the Massimo Dutti and Bershka brands.
Mera and Ortega separated in 1986. They have two children, Sandra and Marcos.
In 1986, Mera co-founded Paideia Galiza Foundation, based in her hometown, La Coruna. The organization helps people with physical and mental disabilities -- like her son Marcos, who was born with a mental disability -- to find jobs and it also provides training and education workshops. The foundation was not immediately available for comment.
According to Forbes, Mera's net worth was $6.1 billion as of March 2013. Ortega, 77, remains Inditex's majority shareholder. He is listed by Forbes as the fourth-richest man in the world with a net worth of $57 billion.
Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1957 GMT (0357 HKT)
Until clearer information comes to light, here's a summary of what we know, and what we don't.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1954 GMT (0354 HKT)
Christiane Amanpour speaks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra about the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0300 GMT (1100 HKT)
Aaron Miller says even those with little knowledge of Ukraine should spot the myths we've heard.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
The father of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza said his son would have killed him if he'd had the opportunity.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Too lazy to have a shower? Worry no more, there's a lotion for that.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
A man-eating tiger is sparking terror in India, having killed at least 10 people in 6 weeks. Sumnima Udas reports.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
This is ballet, but not as you know it. For one, there's not a ballerina in sight.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 2023 GMT (0423 HKT)
In some ways, the "Pope Francis effect" doesn't seem very effective at all.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0156 GMT (0956 HKT)
There are five kinds of online user review -- and four of them are almost completely worthless.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0029 GMT (0829 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
What we commonly call the Web is really just the surface. Beneath that is a vast, mostly uncharted ocean called the Deep Web.
Today's five most popular stories