TAIPEI, Taiwan, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Tsai Wan-lin, Taiwan's wealthiest businessman and founder of the Lin Yuan Group, died Monday evening of heart disease in a Taipei hospital, at the age of 81.
Tsai was ranked No. 94 on Forbes magazine's 2004 list of the world's richest people. His family was worth about $4.6 billion, the Taiwan News said Wednesday. The Lin Yuan Group includes insurance, banking, construction and information technology businesses.
Born in a Taiwan village to a poor farming family, Tsai began his commercial life at the age of 8, selling vegetables, rice and soy sauce with his two brothers.
In the 1960s the brothers founded the Cathay Life Insurance Company, which remains Taiwan's biggest life insurance company. They expanded into banking and venture capital businesses, which merged with the insurance company in 2001 to form Taiwan's largest financial holding company, Cathay Financial Holdings.
The billionaire spent his last six years hospitalized at the Cathay General Hospital in Taipei, which he founded in 1977.
President Chen Shui-bian was to convey his condolences to Tsai's family Wednesday morning. Tsai was appointed a senior adviser to the president in 2000.
Tsai is survived by his wife, Tsai Chou Pao-chin, three sons and four daughters.