Tic Tac and Nutella executive Pietro Ferrero has died while bicycling in South Africa, his firm said Monday.
The Italian news service Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported the Ferrero Group issued a statement confirming "with deep dismay" that its 47-year-old chief executive officer had died.
"He fell during his routine bike ride, probably having been taken ill," the statement said. "This happened in South Africa, where he was on a work mission.
"At the moment, we only have shreds of information. We don't have the information regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident at our disposal."
The Daily Telegraph said Ferrero was reported to have been hit by a car, though it said details were not known.
CNN reported Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini released a statement mourning Ferrero as "a businessman who represented the best qualities of our economic history."
Ferrero, who has a wife and three children, ran the company with his brother Giovanni.
The brothers are the sons of 85-year-old Michele Ferrero -- said to be the richest man in Italy and the 32nd-richest in the world -- and the grandsons of company founders Piera and Pietro Ferrero.