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Spanish fashion tycoon overtakes Bill Gates to top world's rich list

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Spanish fashion tycoon overtakes Bill Gates to top world's rich list
Spanish billionaire and Zara co-founder Amancio Ortega. Photo: Miguel Riopa / AFP.
12:17 CEST+02:00
Zara co-founder Amancio Ortega surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest man on Friday by nearly $2 billion, according to Forbes magazine's real-time calculator.

Ortega's net worth was listed as $79.8 billion in Forbes magazine's real-time calculator on Friday afternoon, beating out Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates by $1.7 billion.

Screenshot of the Forbes real-time calculator.

Of course, since the wealth is being calculated in real time, it is hard to say how long Ortega's place on top will last.

In 1975, Ortega opened the first Zara store, which would grow into a booming international retail store over the next decades.

Zara is now part of the world's largest apparel retailer, the Inditex group, which is also led by Ortega and includes stores like Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Bershka.

Born in Busdongo de Arbás, León, Ortega moved to A Coruña with his father as a teenager and took a job at a local shirtmaker. He started making bathrobes and lingerie with his first wife Rosalia Mera in their living room in the Galician city, eventually opening their first store in 1975.

Zara is now located in 88 countries worldwide with more 2,000 stores.

Ortega had another announcement up his sleeve this week, but this one of the more philanthropic kind. The billionaire's foundation announced on Thursday that it would donate €17 million to local public hospitals in Galicia.

The donation is supposed to fund the renovation and maintenance of all devices that help treat and diagnose cancer over the next eight years, according to newspaper El Pais.

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