Sol Kerzner, the founder of the Southern Sun Hotel Group and Sun International, has died.He was 84 years old.
Kerzner died on Saturday night surrounded by family members at the family home, Leeukoppie Estate in Cape Town. He had been suffering from cancer.
The son of Russian immigrants, Kerzner was born in Johannesburg in 1935. Trained in accounting, he entered the hospitality industry in 1962 when purchased the Astra, a small inn located in Durban.
His breakthrough project was the construction of the Beverley Hills in Umhlanga Rocks – the first five-star hotel in South Africa. Partnering with South African Breweries to establish Southern Sun Hotels, he operated 30 luxury hotels by 1983.
Ian Douglas, friend and employee of Kerzner, said in the wake of his death: “Sol was someone who possessed a rare combination of creative genius, uncanny financial acuity and an astonishing energy, which he poured into every business he touched. Nothing he built was ever boring and he never chased the money. He only chased success. He was always trailblazing, always in pursuit of bigger, better, new, different, more exacting and exciting projects around the globe.”
Kerzner was married four times. He had three children – Butch (Howard), Andrea, and Beverly – with his first wife, Maureen. Two children – Brandon and Chantal – were born from his marriage with his second wife, Shirley, who took her own life after the birth of their daughter. In 1980, he married Miss World 1974, Anneline Kriel. They divorced in 1985. He got engaged to model Christina Estrada in the late 1990s, but ended up marrying her friend Heather Murphy instead, in 2000. They divorced in 2011.