Sergio Galeotti, co-founder and chairman of the board of the internationally famous design firm of Giorgio Armani, has died of a heart attack at his home in Milan, Italy.
He was 40 and had leukemia.
"He was the true spirit of this company," designer Giorgio Armani said.
Galeotti, a former menswear buyer, was the business head of the Milanese firm that he started with Armani after the designer left Nino Cerruti in 1970. When the current company was founded in 1975 with $10,000 and a single student receptionist, Galeotti was quoted as saying, "We had so little we had to let her (the student) study on the job." Since then the firm has become one of the most important in the fashion world, and Galeotti was widely credited with its business success.
Armani is known as the man who put women into men's blazers. He used his background in menswear to create impeccably tailored jackets and suits for women. Two years ago, he gained international headlines with the now-popular androgynous look.
A 1982 Time magazine cover article on the privately owned fashion firm estimated its worldwide annual sales at $135 million. The company has stores in 30 countries.
Galeotti, who died Aug. 14, leaves no immediate survivors.