Tony Pidgley, founder and president of the Berkeley group of the FTSE 100 group, died suddenly at the age of 72.
The death of the tycoon was a shock to the business. It is understood that he was working until Thursday when he was taken to the hospital.
Adopted at the age of four by Barnado by travelers, Mr Pidgley’s determination and hard work helped him to become one of the most influential businessmen in the country.
Rob Perrins, CEO of Berkeley, said: “Tony has been a brilliant man with whom I have had the good fortune to work closely for 20 years.
“He started Berkeley by building a house and his vision became an FTSE 100 company.
“He knew he would never retire, so he made sure his culture was rooted in the Company for when this sad day would come.”
Pidgley grew up living in a disused railway carriage and left school at the age of 15 struggling to read and write.
But he put together enough money to buy a truck and quickly set up a transportation company.
This was sold to Crest Nicholson in 1968, in an agreement that made Pidgley a millionaire and made him part of the construction division of Crest.