Forrest Mars Jr., former co-president of the candy empire that bears his name, died Tuesday at 84.
According to an obituary in The Wall Street Journal, Mars died of complications of a heart attack suffered during a visit to Seattle.
The Mars company, with worldwide confectionery brands including Snickers, M&Ms and Wrigley, was founded in Tacoma in 1911 by Forrest Mars Jr.’s grandfather, Frank C. Mars.
Begun in the Proctor District with a recipe for buttercream candy, the company and Frank Mars endured bankruptcies before the Milky Way bar, introduced in 1923, established the overall brand.
Forrest Mars Jr. was appointed co-president of the company, alongside his brother, in 1975. When the brothers took office, according to the Journal article, the company recorded annual sales of approximately $1 billion. Current annual sales approach $35 billion, and Mars is estimated to control nearly one-third of the U.S. chocolate market.
After his 1999 retirement, Mars remained on the company board of directors until 2006.
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