Roberto Civita, chief of the Brazilian media conglomerate Abril and creator of the prestigious newsweekly Veja, has died, his company said Monday. He was 76.

The mogul died of multiple organ failure at the Sirio Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he has been under treatment since February for an abdominal aneurysm.

The Italian-born entrepreneur was the son of Victor Civita, founder of Grupo Abril, a publishing and media giant with 9,000 employees and annual sales of close to $1.5 billion.

Abril, proprietor of seven of the 10 most popular magazines in Brazil, also owns shares in cable television, Internet and educational companies.

Roberto Civita was founder and editor of Veja, the weekly magazine with the largest circulation in Brazil.

With a degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Roberto began his journalism career at TIME, but returned to Brazil in 1958 to work at his father's publishing house with the idea of creating an American-style newsweekly.

"I am sorry to hear about the death of businessman Roberto Civita. Under his direction, the Abril publishing house set a new standard," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in an official note.

"In this moment of sadness, I send my embrace of solidarity to his wife, Maria Antonia, his children and friends," the note said.

Veja has taken a generally critical editorial line toward Rousseff. EFE