Pizza Express founder Peter Boizot has passed away at his home in Peterborough.
His sister Clementine Allen confirmed her brother and former Peterborough United Football Club owner, 89, had died.
The entrepreneur opened his first Pizza Express in Soho in 1965 and has been widely credited for introducing pizza to the masses and revolutionising the casual-dining experience.
Pizza Express managing director Zoe Bowley said: 'In his 89 years, this remarkable entrepreneur achieved an astonishing amount, not just within the dining industry, but across music, sport, and charity as well.
'He launched a culinary revolution with the first PizzaExpress in 1965, introducing delicious pizza and casual dining to the UK, inspired by his travels in Italy.'
She added: 'His philanthropic work was renowned, raising £2million for the Venice in Peril fund and he inspired the company to continue this charitable mission.
'Peter's spirit and vision to bring great pizza to the UK and beyond, and his passion for good food and good times, will live on.
'We will miss him dearly. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.'
A statement from the firm on their Facebook page read: 'It is with great sadness that we share the news that our founder, Peter Boizot, passed away on 5th December 2018. In his 89 years, this remarkable entrepreneur achieved an astonishing amount, not just within the dining industry, but across music, sport, and charity as well.'
It continued: 'Peter's spirit, vision and his passion for good food and good times, will live on and we will continue to carry forward his legacy through the people and culture of our business. We will all miss him dearly. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.'
A statement from Peterborough United Football Club said: 'The Pizza Express founder was a major part of the success in the late 1990s/early 2000s when Posh secured promotion at Wembley in 2000.
'Everybody at the football club would like to express our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family at this very sad time.'
Mr Boizot was born in Peterborough on November 16, 1929 and attended the St Mark's School in the city, before he became head boy at the King's School.
He went on to study History at study History at St Catharine's College at Cambridge University, before spending 10 years abroad.
During his stint oversea, Mr Boizot taught English in Paris, worked for Nestle's publicity department and had a spell on the news photo department of Associate Press in Rome.
Upon his return to England, Mr Boizot opened his first Pizza Express shop in March 1965 after failing to find anywhere in London which served good Italian food.
Mr Boizot's sister said he opened the first Pizza Express as a takeaway after 'roaming about Europe and realising there wasn't any decent pizza about'.
The Wardour Street premises was taken on by Mr Boizot, who imported an oven and sold slices of pizza wrapped in seviettes to customers.
More premises quickly followed and, alongside Italian designer Enzo Apicella, he stripped away stuffy dining in favour of the chain's signature marble table tops and clean lines.
His chain went from strength-to-strength, becoming recognisable on high streets across Britain and overseas.
The chain has at least 320 outlets in the UK and 61 abroad. It has been such a success it has allowed the brand to launch its pizzas which are sold in supermarkets and shops.
He stepped down from the board of Pizza Express in 1996 but remained involved in the firm as president.
Last month he was recognised by the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association with an award for his outstanding contribution to the industry.
Mr Boizot became a key figure in the fight to save London's Soho and was a big supporter of jazz.
Pizza on the Park, Kettners in Soho and Condotti in Mayfair and a pub in Maida Vale all represented his interests. Pizza on the Park is one of London's foremost jazz music venues because he likes jazz.