Ernesto Illy, 82, longtime head of Italian coffee giant Illycaffe S.p.A who traveled the world in search of the best blend of beans, died Sunday in a hospital in Trieste, the port city in northeastern Italy where the company has its headquarters. No cause of death was given.
Illy was born in Trieste on July 18, 1925, the son of Francesco Illy, who founded the company in 1933. A chemist trained at the University of Bologna, Ernesto Illy was president of the company from 1963 to 2004.
He traveled extensively to select beans he hoped would yield a perfect cup of coffee. The company boasts that it has an exclusive blend of beans from Brazil, Central America, India and Africa, and it distributes its coffee in more than 140 countries.