GLOBAL ONE NEWS — Filipinos have paid tribute to the late Henry Sy Sr. — the country’s wealthiest man and the “father of modern Philippine retail.”

Sy passed away in Manila Jan. 19.

Known for his humble beginnings, Malacañang said Sy “exemplified the hardworking Filipino.” It added a “grateful nation respects and admires the man” for the thousands of jobs he provided to Filipinos.

Born in Fujian, China, Sy followed his father to Manila to run a grocery store. They lost everything during World War II forcing his father to return to China. But Sy stayed back in Manila and earned a business degree in 1950.

In 1958, he established the first ShoeMart — later known as SM — which would become the Philippines’ largest mall chain.

According to BusinessWorld Online, SM has 72 branches across the Philippines with revenues of $6.7 billion as of 2016.

The tycoon has also ventured in the industries of property, logistics, mining and banking.