Property developer Howard Ronson, 63, died on Wednesday in Monaco from cancer

Ronson, cousin of Heron International chief executive Gerald Ronson, founded development company HRO in France in 1971 after leaving the Ronson family property company.

HRO, which was known for developing high-quality office buildings in slightly off-pitch locations, developed more than 16m sq ft (1.5m sq m) of offices in Europe and the USA.

Ronson was born on 28 May 1943 and studied at Carmel College in England, the Sorbonne in Paris and Harvard Business School in Boston in the US.

People who knew him say he was the proverbial high-rolling developer with a true passion for property and a love of fine suits, cigars and hard work.

In an interview with Property Week in 2001, he said: ‘You should never be in business unless you love it. It is my hobby. I enjoy every second of it. Most of the people around me feel the same way. So it is not work.’