Don Fisher who along with his wife founded Gap in 1969, died yesterday aged 81 after a long battle with cancer.

Chief executive and chairman of the board of Gap Glenn Murphy said: “Today we lost a friend, a mentor and a great visionary.”

Fisher and his wife Doris opened the first Gap store which was a jeans and music shop after a frustrating experience trying to find a pair of jeans.

Their first shop was set up after Fisher raised $63,000. It then grew over the next forty years to become one of the biggest fashion retail businesses in the world with sales of $14bn last year.

“Don and Doris took a simple idea and turned it into a brand a brand recognised as a cultural icon throughout the world and changed the face of retail forever,” said Murphy.

Fisher stepped down as chairman of Gap in 2004 but remained a director and executive with the title of founder and chairman emeritus.