The man considered by Forbes magazine to be the 368th richest person in the world was hit last Saturday by a boat while swimming in Lake Rabun, about 100 kilometres north of Atlanta, a Tchibo spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.
"He swam from the dock into the main channel near the dam, and about the same time he reached the main channel, a boater was making a left-hand turn into the main channel and didn't see him in the water and he struck him with his boat," Jennifer Barnes, a spokeswoman for the Georgia state Department of Natural Resources, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "At this point, it just seems like an unfortunate accident."
Herz spent much of his time in the United States after falling out with his siblings – the five children of Tchibo founder Max Herz. The 66-year-old owned 15 percent of the holding company Maxingvest that controls both the popular coffee and household wares company Tchibo and Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea.
His net worth was estimated at around $3 billion by Forbes. He had no children but is survived by his wife Petra.