Aldo Gucci, who transformed his father's leather goods company into a major Italian fashion house that came to embody luxury and style, has died in Rome, the Gucci company announced Saturday. He was 84.
A spokeswoman for Guccio Gucci Spa said Gucci died Friday evening after lapsing into a coma from complications associated with the flu.
Gucci was the last surviving son of Florentine saddle maker Guccio Gucci, who founded the company in 1922 as a purveyor of boots and saddles.
Under Aldo Gucci's direction, the company's distinctive GG insignia became an international symbol of expensive, high-quality fashion items, from $11 bars of soap to $50,000, hand-sewn alligator trunks.
He was credited with having launched the marketing of Gucci products in the United States by ultimately opening shops in New York City, Palm Beach, Fla., Chicago and Beverly Hills, among other tony locations.
In 1986, Gucci pleaded guilty to evading more than $7 million in U.S. taxes, was fined $30,000 and served a year in prison. He was released in 1987.
Last year, Gucci America Inc. paid more than $20 million to the Internal Revenue Service after company officials pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. The company admitted using false bills and invoices by foreign corporations to secretly divert funds to Gucci and other members of his family.
The tax evasion scheme unraveled in 1982 when one of Gucci's three sons, Paolo, sued the company and his father in a family feud over control of the firm.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.