Forrest Mars Jr., who shaped global candy empire, dies at 84


SEATTLE (AP) — Forrest E. Mars Jr., who helped shape Mars Inc. into a multi-billion dollar confectionary empire with beloved brands such as M&M’s and Snickers bars, has died. He was 84.

Company spokeswoman Kelly McGrail says he died Tuesday in Seattle of complications following a heart attack. He had been living in Sheridan, Wyoming, at the time of his death.

With his brother and sister in 1973, Mars inherited the company his grandfather started more than a century ago. He became co-president with his brother John in 1975 and helped build the company into a diverse global enterprise whose brands included Pedigree pet food and Skittles candy.

He joined the company in 1959 as a financial staff officer for M&M Candies. He managed a confectionary factory in The Netherlands and directed Mars France before returning to McLean, Virginia in 1970 to serve as the company’s vice-president.

Mars is survived by his wife, four children and many other relatives.

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