Prominent entrepreneur Sir David Tang, a friend of the royals and A-list celebrities, has died.
For the past few weeks, the 63-year-old founder of the Shanghai Tang fashion chain had been at the Royal Marsden Hospital, where he died on Tuesday evening.
Celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Sir Tom Jones and Russell Crowe have since paid tribute to the businessman.
Speaking to the Press Association, Ewan Venters, chief executive of Fortnum & Mason, said the "world is a little duller" after Sir David's death.
Mr Venters, 45, who had known him for a decade, said he was informed of the death by Sir David's wife, Lady Lucy Tang.
"He was one of life's unique people who had an extraordinary network of people from all walks of life. He was a very generous, kind-hearted, spirited individual," Mr Venters said.
"Personally, I think the world is a little duller for the loss of David and at such a relatively young age."
Sir David announced earlier this month that he was throwing a farewell to life party at The Dorchester in London after receiving the news he had a couple of months to live.
Mr Venters said the event was due to take place in the ballroom at the luxury Mayfair hotel on September 6, but that "sadly he didn't quite make it".
He added: "David had been unwell on and off for a period, but actually his recent illness is a relatively short (one) - this has all happened in the last four weeks.
"There was an understanding amongst his friends, and hence why he organised a memorial, that by definition he was not going to come through. It was a matter of time."
As the news of his death broke, Hollywood actor Russell Crowe tweeted: "RIP dear friend Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine. Witty, charming, intellectual, salacious, hilarious, loving and funny as f***."
Veteran entertainer Sir Tom Jones posted: "A most generous, exceptional & loving friend, Sir David Tang, RIP. The stories & laughs will forever echo. Our hearts go out to Lucy & family."
Presenter Stephen Fry tweeted: "We all knew it was coming, but the death of the great, outrageous, kind, brilliant, original & wholly marvellous David Tang is a rotten blow."
Posting an image of herself with Sir David on Instagram, Naomi Campbell wrote that there would never be another person like him, as she extended her condolences to his family.
The model added: "Mind, body and soul and your beyond generous spirit, bursting with this amazing infectious energy. We were all your students."
Campbell also said the loss of Sir David is "felt by the world", and that he was a man who "lived life to the fullest".
Sir Mick Jagger posted on Twitter: "So sad to hear about David Tang. He was so generous and so much fun we will all miss him."