(JTA) — A billionaire Jewish diamond trader died during cosmetic surgery.
Ehud Arye Laniado had a heart attack during the procedure Saturday at a private clinic in France, according to reports. Laniado, a Belgian Israeli, was 65.
He owned Omega Diamonds based in Antwerp and Mercury Diamond, a diamond pricing consultancy, and had been in the diamond business for 40 years.
In 2015, Laniado sold the world’s most expensive diamond, called the Blue Moon of Josephine, to Joseph Lau Luen Hung, a Hong Kong businessman and a convicted felon, for $48.4 million.
Omega Diamonds confirmed its owner and founder’s death in a statement.
“Farewell to a visionary businessman,” the statement said. “It is with great sadness that we confirm that our founder Ehud Arye Laniado has passed away. After living an exceptional life Ehud will be brought back home to Israel as his final resting place. He will be dearly missed by us all.”
Laniado was expected to appear in court in Belgium on March 14 to face tax evasion charges.
He reportedly entered the workforce as a masseuse working at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv.