The founder of the Swedish furniture giant IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, has died aged 91.

The company said in a statement that Mr Kamprad passed away at his home after a "brief illness".

Mr Kamprad founded Ikea in 1943 when he was just 17. 

In 1956 the company pioneered flat-pack furniture which established it as a major player.  

The idea came about after Mr Kamprad watched an employee taking the legs off a table to fit it into a customer's car and realised that saving space meant saving money.  

Ikea is now heading for €50bn in annual revenues.  

Ingvar Kamprad was born on 30 March in southern Sweden and started off selling matches to neighbours at the age of five.

He soon diversified his inventory to include seeds, Christmas tree decorations, pencils and ball-point pens.  

In a statement today, Ikea said: "Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind – hard working and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye".  

Torbjorn Loof, CEO and president of the Inter Ikea Group said: "We are deeply saddened by Ingvar's passing. We will remember his dedication and commitment to ordinary people." 

Despite his enormous success and wealth, Mr Kamprad's modest spending habits bordered on the obsessive.

In 1973 he fled Sweden's higher tax structure for Denmark before seeking even lower taxes in Switzerland. 

Starting in 2010 he gradually made way at the helm of the company for his three sons, finally returning to live in Sweden in 2014. 

Mr Kamprad announced in 2013 that he would be stepping down from the board of Inter Ikea, owner of the furniture giant's concept and brand, and his youngest son became chairman. 

The Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2014 cited leaked tax files from Luxembourg when it identified Ikea as one of the giant multinationals identified for corporate tax avoidance by shuffling money to tax havens.

Last year, the European Commission announced that it had launched an investigation into Ikea's tax deals in the Netherlands. 

The group insists that it complies fully with national and international tax regulations. 

Mr Kamprad was also known for his ties to the Swedish Nazi party during his early days. 

Sweden was neutral in World War II, and its Nazi party remained active after 1945.

The Ikea founder said he stopped attending its meetings in 1948.