Hotel and catering mogul Lord Forte has died at his London home aged 98.
He passed away peacefully in his sleep at 7am this morning, according to a company spokeswoman.
Charles Forte started his career as the owner of a milk bar in London and went on to become the head of worldwide hotel and restaurant empire Forte, which he founded in 1934.
This included the budget hotel chain Travelodge and roadside restaurants Little Chef and Happy Eater. The first Travelodge hotel was opened in the Midlands in 1985 to cater for drivers needing a bed for the night.
Lord Forte was awarded a life peerage in 1982.
Lord Forte's son, Sir Rocco Forte, is the chairman and chief executive of Rocco Forte Hotels, which he set up in 1996 shortly after losing Forte in a £3.87b hostile takeover by Granada.
"I have given instructions for the flags at the Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor and Pragelato, Italy to fly at half mast for the next week in recognition of the world's finest hotelier - Lord Forte," he said.
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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