Body Shop founder passes at 64

LONDON The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, who used her cosmetics company to help communicate human rights and environmental issues, died Monday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. She was 64.

According to published reports, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown led tributes to Roddick on Tuesday, describing her as a “true pioneer.”

Roddick, who died in a hospital in Chichester with her family at her bedside, had revealed in February that she contracted hepatitis C through a blood transfusion while giving birth to a daughter in 1971.

Roddick revealed the news after becoming the patron of a British charity Hepatitis C Trust. While she had been carrying the disease for more than three decades, it wasn’t detected until two years after a blood test.

According to reports, it wasn’t immediately known whether there was a link between the brain hemorrhage and the disease.

Roddick founded The Body Shop in 1976, selling natural-based beauty products. “It wasn’t only economic necessity that inspired the birth of The Body Shop. My early travels had given me a wealth of experience. I had spent time in farming and fishing communities with pre-industrial people, and had been exposed to body rituals of women from all over the world,” wrote Roddick in a message posted on the company’s Web site. “Why waste a container when you can refill it? And why buy more of something that you can use?”

It was ideas such as these that became the foundation of the company’s environmental activism.

Over the years, Roddick saw the company grow into a cosmetics brand with 2,000-plus retail outlets in more than 50 countries. Last year, L’Oreal acquired the company.

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