Mr. Red Bull Dies a Multi-Billionaire at 89

Spill out a little Red Bull in honor of the Thai businessman who invented it.

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The Thai businessman responsible for Red Bull, the battery-acid-flavored carbonated stimulant favored by college freshmen and big-rig truckers alike, has died at age 89, the AP is reporting.

Chaleo Yoovidhya is listed as the richest man in Thailand for his invention, which he created under the name "Krating Daeng " -- Thai for "red gaur," a bison species native to Southeast Asia -- back in the 1970s. Based on other Asian energy elixirs, the drink contained water, sugar, caffeine (the same amount as only one cup of coffee), taurine, inositol and B-vitamins, and was marketed to farmers and blue collar workers as a cheap, legal stimulant.

In 1982, an Austrian entrepreneur named Dietrch Mateschitz found that the drink cured a serious case of jet lag, and went into business with Yoovidhya two years later to market Red Bull, with added carbonation, to the West. The drink was first marketed in the U.S. in 1997, and its success launched the current energy drink craze.

Thai state television reported Yoovidhya died of natural causes today, leaving behind a fortune estimated in the billions of dollars. In honor of Yoovidhya's passing, here is a link to all the people on Twitter making the easy "finally got his wings" jokes.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.