Alltech CEO Pearse Lyons sits in the official gallery during...

Alltech CEO Pearse Lyons sits in the official gallery during the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Caen, France, in August 2014. Credit: picture-allianc / Rolf Vennenbernd

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Irish-born Kentucky billionaire and founder of international agribusiness company Alltech has died. Pearse Lyons was 73.

Alltech released a statement saying Lyons died Thursday from an acute lung condition that developed during recovery from heart surgery in November.

A biochemist by education, Lyons earned master’s and doctoral degrees in brewing science from the University of Birmingham. He moved to the United States to help a distillery improve its processes and launched Alltech from his Lexington garage in 1980.

The company focuses on all-natural nutrition products for animals and humans.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Lyons was a major philanthropist whose donations targeted science education. He also was a key figure in bringing the World Equestrian Games to Lexington in 2010.

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