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Amway founder and Magic owner Richard DeVos dies at age 92

Thursday, September 6, 2018

ADA, Mich. (AP) — Billionaire Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct-selling giant Amway, owner of the Orlando Magic and father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, died Thursday. He was 92.

Family spokesman Nick Wasmiller says DeVos died at his Ada, Mich., home due to complications from an infection.

DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. He started Amway along with friend, Jay Van Andel, in 1959. DeVos served as company president until 1993.

The DeVos family bought the NBA's Orlando Magic in 1991.

"Mr. DeVos' boundless generosity, inspirational leadership and infectious enthusiasm will always be remembered," Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement. "Simply, he was the team's No. 1 cheerleader and the best owner that a Magic fan could ever want for their team. When the DeVos family purchased the Magic, his vision was that the team and organization would serve as a platform to improve the central Florida community."

DeVos and Van Andel took $49 in 1949 and invested the modest amount into manufacturer and vitamin direct-seller Nutrilite. They became independent vitamin distributors and later used the company's person-to-person selling approach when starting Amway in Ada with an all-purpose cleaning product.

Over five decades, Amway became a multibillion-dollar international corporation.