Rosalia Mera
Rosalia Mera, co-founded a clothing store in northwestern Spain that grew into Zara, one of the world’s largest retail chains.

Rosalia Mera, the co-founder of Spanish retail giant Zara, has died aged 69.

According to reports, Mera, who was Spain's richest woman, suffered a stroke while on holiday in Menorca.

She was flown back Coruna, her hometown in Spain's Galicia region where she passed away on 15 August.

No further details about her death have been made public.

Mera left school at 11 to work as a seamstress before launching clothes manufacturing company Inditex with her ex-husband Amancio Ortega in the 60s. The power couple opened the first Zara store in 1975, in their hometown of A Caruna, Spain.

It specialized in low-priced versions of more expensive popular clothes and grew into one of the world's biggest retailers.

Ortega is listed by Forbes as the world's third-richest person worth an estimated £37.5 billion.

Inditex SA, the owner of Zara Massimo Dutti and Bershka brands, issued a statement saying that it was 'deeply saddened' by her sudden death.

"The Group wishes to send its sincere condolences to her loved ones and friends at this extremely difficult time, after the loss of a person who contributed so much to the origins and development of the company," a company spokesperson said.

BBC's Tom Burridge described her journey as a rages to riches story.

"Rosalia Mera had a rags to riches backstory, and that seems to have shaped her belief that the money of millionaires, or even billionaires like her, should not be flaunted," he said.

She is survived by her son Marco and daughter, Sandra.