Patriarch of the Weston empire that owns Loblaws died peacefully ‘after a long illness,’ according to his family.

W. Galen Weston, the patriarch of the Weston empire that controls Loblaws and other retail holdings, has died at the age of 80, his family have said.

Known as Galen Weston Sr., he died on Monday, “peacefully at home after a long illness faced with courage and dignity,” his family said in a statement.

Born in England in 1940, Weston earned a degree at the University of Western Ontario in the 1960s. After a time spent in Ireland, where he met his wife and had two children, he made Canada his main base of operations from the 1970s onwards.

Apart from Loblaws, Weston also ran the George Weston Co., a holding company for various food and bakery brands. He retired in 2016 at the age of 75 and handed the reins over to his son.

“My father’s greatest gift was inspiring those around him to achieve more than they thought possible,’ his son Galen Weston Jr., who is CEO of both Loblaws and the George Weston Company Ltd, said in the family statement. “In our business and in his life he built a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and joy.”