Patrick Ricard, the head of the global spirits company Pernod Ricard, died on Friday. French media reports suggested he had heart problems.
Paul Ricard founded the company, which began selling the anise-flavoured liqueur pastis, in Marseille in 1932.
His son transformed the firm into the second largest wine and spirits company in the world.
He took over as chairman and chief executive in 1978, at the age of 33, a few years after it had merged with Pernod.
Patrick Ricard made a series of acquisitions beginning with bourbon maker Wild Turkey in 1981, followed by Irish Distillers, and then the Chivas and Martell brands.
A buyout of Allied Domecq followed in 2008.
The expansion transformed the company into a major global player generating sales of 7.6 billion euros in 2011, with some 18,000 employees worldwide.
Mr Ricard, 67, who was named European businessman of the year by Fortune magzine in 2006, was married with three children.