Sir Richard Branson has paid tribute to his mother after she died aged 96 following a battle with coronavirus.
The billionaire business magnate said he was determined to celebrate his mother Eve Branson’s “wonderful life” rather than mourn her loss.
“I’m sorry to share that, sadly like a lot of people’s mums and dads right now in these days of Covid, my mum Eve has also passed away,” he said on Twitter.
“Rather than mourn her loss, I wanted to celebrate her wonderful life & the joy she brought to so many.”
Friends of Eve Branson took to Twitter to pay tribute.
David Duffy, the chief executive of Virgin Money said: “So very sorry to hear of your loss of your mum, coming from a family with a powerful matriarch I know what a large gap she will leave, I am glad you have such great memories, my condolences.”
Gina Din added: “I loved Eve. May you find comfort and strength. She was a hoot!”
Sir Richard said his mother, who died at the age of 96, was a “force of nature”.
He shared how Mrs Branson took glider lessons disguised as a boy, toured Germany as a ballet dance after the Second World War, acted on the West End stage and worked as “pioneering hostess on the treacherous British South American Airways routes”.
“She held on for one last victory, managing to fight off the virus, but had expended all of her energy in the process,” said Sir Richard.
“One of my wonderful sisters, Vanessa, and nephew Louis were with her until the end, as were the wonderful nurses who she entertained with tales from her life and much laughter over glasses of whisky.”
The Virgin Group founder said one of his mother’s most “brilliant legacies” was The Eve Branson Foundation which provides access to education and healthcare to those in need.
Sir Richard added: “It is no exaggeration to say I owe my career to mum. One day in the late Sixties mum saw a necklace lying on the road near Shamley Green and took it to the police station.
“After three months nobody had claimed it so the police told her she could keep it. She came up to London, sold the necklace and gave me the money. Without that £100, I could never have started Virgin. We were so sad to lose dad back in 2011, but mum did exactly as he would have wished by continuing to grab life with both hands.”