Asos billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen loses three of his four children in Sri Lanka attacks

Simon Johnson
Anders Holch Povlsen has lost three of his four children in the Sri Lanka attacks - Ritzau Scanpix

The billionaire fashion tycoon behind online clothing retailer Asos lost three of his four children in the Sri Lanka terror attacks.

Anders Holch Povlsen, 46, is Denmark's wealthiest man and the UK's largest private landowner after buying up 13 estates in Scotland.

Three days before the attacks, Mr Povlsen's daughter Alma shared an Instagram photo of her siblings Astrid, Agnes and Alfred - calling them "three little bears" - in front of a swimming pool lined by palm trees.

The billionaire and his wife Anne, who keep a low public profile, have not said which of their three children died in the attack.

The tragedy occurred less than a week after he published an impassioned open letter stating that his vision for his Scottish estates would be passed to his children.

The businessman is not the only Briton to lose relatives to the terror attacks that struck multiple churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday.

Ben Nicholson, 43, a Singapore-based lawyer, lost his wife, Anita, 42, son Alex, 11, and youngest daughter, Annabel, were killed when an explosion rocked the luxury five-star Shangri La hotel where they were staying on holiday.

Tony Bent, 46, of Basildon, Essex, grew up with Mr Nicholson, and played squash with him at county level. “I just really feel for him,” he told The Telegraph yesterday. “He was always a really nice bloke and had a really nice, warm family.”

Mr Povlsen set out his ambitions for the 220,000 acres he owns north of the Border, but said he would not live to see the conclusion of his "re-wilding" project.

Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife Anne Holch Povlsen Credit: Olufson Jonas/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

Jesper Stubkier, communications manager for Mr Holch Povlsen's wholesale fashion business Bestseller, announced the children's deaths in the Easter Sunday attacks.

He said: "I can confirm that three children have been killed. We have no further comment and we ask that the family's privacy is respected at this time."

It is unknown which of the series of blasts killed them or who else from the tycoon's family was in Sri Lanka.

According to Forbes, Mr Povlsen has a net worth of £6.1 billion. He has spent more than £100 million buying up a dozen estates, including Glenfeshie in the Cairngorms, which he described in last week's open letter as home.

He wrote: "Both Anne and myself, our children and our parents too, have long enjoyed a deep connection with this magnificent landscape."

Security forces inspect the St. Anthony's Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade in Colombo, Sri Lanka Credit: Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Referring to his rewilding project, he said that "we know cannot be realised in our lifetime, which will bear fruit not just for our own children but also for the generations of visitors who, like us, hold a deep affection the Scottish Highlands."

He has previously unveiled plans to restore the Highlands to their "former magnificent natural state" by reducing grazing pasture and reintroducing Caledonian pine forests.

Mr Povlsen hopes endangered animals – such as the red squirrel, pine marten, Scottish wildcat, capercaillie and black grouse – will thrive again as new woodlands across his estates begin to connect.

The billionaire has also hinted at trying to bring back back wild animals and birds long absent from the UK, such as cranes, storks, beavers, bears, lynx and even wolves.