STOCKHOLM, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish flat-pack furniture giant Ikea, has passed away at the age of 91, the company announced on Sunday.

Ikea products have furnished millions of homes around the world since the 1950s and the company's global successes made Kamprad one of the wealthiest people in the world.

"We are deeply saddened by Ingvar's passing. We will remember his dedication and commitment to always side with the many people. To never give up, always try to become better and lead by example," Torbjorn Loof, CEO and president of Inter Ikea Group, said in a statement published on the company's website.

Announcing his death on social media platforms on Sunday, Ikea wrote that Kamprad passed away peacefully in his home in Smaland, southern Sweden, where he was born in 1926 and founded his company as a 17-year-old. His death followed a short period of illness.

Kamprad pioneered flat-pack furniture and was "one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century", the company statement said. Ikea's communications department confirmed his death to Swedish media on Sunday, including to state-broadcaster SVT.

"Ingvar's driving force was the vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people," the company statement said.

The name Ikea is an abbreviation of Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd, after his own name as well as the family farm where he was born and the nearby village. Initially, the company sold pens and clocks but after a few years, Ikea also started selling furniture, with the first furniture collection produced in the mid-1950s.

The idea was to sell furniture that as many people as possible could buy regardless of the size of their wallets.

"As soon as products were nice-looking and of good quality, they would also be very expensive. It should be possible to produce well-designed and functional products to a low price for many people," Kamprad has said.

Ikea became the main supplier of furniture to the Swedish "folkhem", the people's home. After that, Ikea also achieved successes in the rest of Europe, North America, China, Russia and several other markets. In 2015, the company had 328 department stores globally.

Kamprad left the company's management team in 1986 but continued to assert control as a senior advisor. Back then, Kamprad said: "I feel very welcome to continue to be active, at least for the next 10, 15, 20 years."

In 2013, Kamprad also left Ikea's board but still continued to be active in the company as an advisor. His youngest son, Mathias Kamprad, took over as chairman of Ikea. In April 2016, Kamprad celebrated his 90th birthday with his family.