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Published November 15, 2011, 04:44 PM

Cargill MacMillan Jr., heir to Cargill agribusiness fortune, dies at 84

Cargill MacMillan Jr., the multibillionaire heir to the agribusiness fortune of Cargill, Inc., the world's largest private company, has died in Southern California. He was 84.

By: Associated Press,

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Cargill MacMillan Jr., the multibillionaire heir to the Cargill, Inc. agribusiness fortune, has died in Southern California. He was 84.

MacMillan died of natural causes shortly after 1 p.m. Monday at his home in Indian Wells, where he was under hospice care, Riverside County sheriff's spokesman Angel Ramos said.

MacMillan was worth an estimated $2.6 billion based on his share in the family company, according to Forbes magazine, which placed him and other relatives on its list of the 400 richest Americans.

The family, which has a reputation for secrecy, holds 88 percent of Cargill. The Minnesota-based conglomerate, founded in 1865, has international interests that range from cocoa plantations to livestock and steel mills to commodities trading.

It is the largest private company in the world, with nearly $119.5 billion in revenue and 138,000 employees in 63 countries.

Cargill made headlines earlier this year when it recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey following back-to-back salmonella incidents that were linked to one death and 129 illnesses across the country. The company also reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 66 percent amid a volatile global grain market.

While MacMillan was a longtime board member, he had no day-to-day role in the company.

The Yale graduate and his wife, Donna, moved from Minnesota to Indian Wells in 1990 and were philanthropists, donating a $20 million art collection to the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Desert Sun newspaper (http://mydesert.co/v3eInx) reported.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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