LONDON — Virgin founder Richard Branson revealed that his mom, Eve, has passed away from the coronavirus, in a tribute blog post on Monday.
Branson said that Eve, who was 96 years old when she died, "held on for one last victory, managing to fight off the virus, but had expended all of her energy in the process."
However, Branson said that instead of mourning her loss, he wanted to "celebrate her wonderful life, her tremendous spirit, the joy she brought to so many, and the love she gave us all."
In the dedication to his mom, Branson said he owed his career to her. He explained that Eve had found a necklace in the sixties and after the police let her keep the jewelry because nobody had claimed it, she sold it and gave him the funds.
"Without that £100 ($135), I could never have started Virgin," Branson said, who founded the now multibillion-dollar conglomerate in 1970.
Branson said that Eve and his father Edward, who passed away in 2011, had taught him and his two sisters the "importance of hard work, of not taking yourself too seriously, of treating people how you wish to be treated, of entrepreneurship, and so much more."
The Virgin founder described his mother as a "force of nature" that had lived "many remarkable lives," sharing how she took glider lessons disguised as boy. She also enlisted in the Women's Royal Naval Service, known as the "Wrens," during World War II.
After the war, Eve toured Germany as a ballet dancer, acted on stage in London's West End and worked as an air hostess on the "treacherous" British South American Airways routes.
Branson said his mother was "inventive, fearless, relentless — an entrepreneur before the word existed."
His mother was also the founder of the Eve Branson Foundation, a small non-profit aimed at improving the lives of women and young girls in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, providing access to education and health care.