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Yves Carcelle, who built luxury brand Louis Vuitton, dies at age 66

This file picture taken on October 1, 2003

This file picture taken on October 1, 2003 in Paris, shows French luxury brand Louis Vuitton's president Yves Carcelle sitting on a chair. Yves Carcelle, 66, died on August 31, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Yves Carcelle, the former chief executive who turned Louis Vuitton into the world's largest and most valuable luxury brand, has died. He was 66.

Carcelle died Sunday following a long illness, Paris-based LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, which owns Vuitton, said Monday in a statement. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year and died in Paris, Women's Wear Daily reported.

Carcelle, who spent much of his career traveling the world looking for the next Vuitton outpost, became head of the brand in 1990, a year after joining LVMH, and set about transforming the trunk maker into LVMH's biggest and most profitable label. He hired Marc Jacobs as artistic director in 1997 and expanded Vuitton into ready-to-wear and, more recently, fine jewelry, while opening shops from Las Vegas to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

"A tireless traveler, Yves was a pioneer who embodied the image and values of Louis Vuitton," LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said in the statement. "Always curious, passionate and in motion, he was one of the most inspiring leaders of men and women I have ever had the privilege of knowing."

Carcelle stood down as CEO of the label in 2012 and became vice president of Foundation Louis Vuitton, a Frank Gehry-designed art museum set to open outside Paris in October. He remained on LVMH's executive committee and as an adviser to Arnault.

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