Christa Gelpke was born in Germany. German heiress Christa Gelpke died in February 2014. She was a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, who founded chemical company BASF in 1865. Her cousin Curt Engelhorn ran the family business, Boehringer Mannheim, for more than three decades, expanding its biochemical and pharmaceutical operations while also transforming it into one of the world's leading makers of medical diagnostic tests. In 1997, through a tax-advantaged Bermuda holding company, he initiated the sale of the company to Roche for $11 billion. As part of the deal, finalized in 1998, Roche also acquired Boehringer's interest in DePuy, a leading manufacturer of artificial joints and orthopedic products. Forbes estimated that Gelpke netted nearly $2 billion when the company was sold. Gelpke left all her wealth to a charitable trust, a family source told Forbes. She is survived by several children and grandchildren.
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