Heiress of the cosmetics firm L'Oreal, Liliane Bettencourt, had an estimated net worth of 33bn euros (£30bn; $40bn) when she died at her home in Paris, France, on Thursday.
So who is now the world's wealthiest woman? And who is leading the pack when it comes to the British?
The world's richest women
1. Alice Walton - net worth $33.8bn (£25bn)
She sat in 17th place on this year's Forbes list of the world's billionaires, three places behind Ms Bettencourt, but has now taken the top spot as the world's richest woman.
The only daughter of Sam Walton, founder of US supermarket giant Walmart, the 67-year-old American has an estimated net worth of $33.8bn.
However, unlike her brothers, she has moved away from the family company and focused on the arts, becoming the chairman of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in the family's hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.
2. Jacqueline Mars - net worth $27bn (£20bn)
At number 26 on the Forbes list, the 77-year-old owns a third of the world's largest confectioner - the other two thirds were split between her brothers until Forrest Junior's death last year.
She worked for the family firm for almost 20 years and stayed on the board up until 2016.
Now she is described as a philanthropist, sitting on boards for the Washington National Opera and the National Archives, among others.
3. Maria Franca Fissolo - net worth $25.2 (£19bn)
The first European on the list, this Italian is the widow of Michele Ferrero - of Ferrero Roche fame.
The company, which also makes Nutella, Kinder and Tic-Tacs, is now run by her son Giovanni.
But she spends her time living in Monaco.
4. Susanne Klatten - net worth $20.4bn (£15bn)
The second European on the list, this 55-year-old German has a mixture of cars and pharmaceuticals to thank for her wealth.
She inherited 50% of chemical company Altana AG when her parents died, while she and her brother also own almost 50% of BMW.
She has since taken Altana private, making it all hers, as well as buying up stakes in a number of other companies - from wind power to graphite production - ensuring her spot on the list.
5. Laurene Powell Jobs - net worth $20bn (£15bn)
Back to the US for the fifth spot - or 40th in the world - and we have the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
The 53-year-old started the Emerson Collective, which pushes causes on social reform and environmental issues.
She also co-founded College Track, which helps disadvantaged students get into further education.
As well as her 0.7% share in Apple, she also owns 4% of Disney.
The UK's wealthiest women
1. Kirsty Bertarelli - net worth £11.5bn
When it comes to British born riches, top of the pack is this former Miss UK.
She sits in sixth place on the Sunday Times Rich List for 2017 alongside her husband Ernesto, who made his fortune in pharmaceuticals.
The 46-year-old from Staffordshire is a singer-songwriter and co-wrote the All Saints hit Black Coffee, which reached number one in the UK singles chart.
2. Denise Coates - net worth £5bn
In 2016, the 49-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent became the highest-earning businesswoman in UK history, bringing in £117.5m from salary and dividends.
Sitting at 22 on the Sunday Times's list with her father Peter and brother John, she stands alone of the Forbes list globally at 522 thanks to founding gambling website Bet365.
She lives in Cheshire with her husband, Richard Smith, who also serves as the firm's property director, and her five children.
3. Lady Charlotte Wellesley - net worth £3.8bn
It was this 26-year-old's first entrance to the rich list this year after marrying Colombian-American billionaire Alejandro Santo Domingo.
But the Duke of Wellington's daughter comes from a royal line as a descendant of Queen Victoria.
She graduated from Oxford with a degree in archaeology and anthropology and has worked as a photographer's assistant, as well as sailing in the Fastnet Race in 2011.
4. Lady Christina Green - net worth £2.8bn
She sits on the list alongside her husband Sir Philip Green in 41st place.
The family has been marred in controversy of late, due to Sir Philip's involvement in the collapse of BHS.
She owns all the family shares in Taveta Investments - which includes shares in Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins.
5. Sarah Dawson - net worth £1.9bn
And at number 67 on the Sunday Times's list - but fifth place for Britain's richest woman - Sarah Dawson takes her place alongside her husband Chris.
Mr Dawson was a former market trader but made his money through creating The Range discount stories, despite never achieving any qualifications at school.
She owns 40% of the business and last year the couple paid themselves £100m dividend.