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Richard Branson Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 6:02 PM EDT, Sat July 19, 2014
Sir Richard Branson poses to celebrate Virgin Money's Birthday in Australia on July 7, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.
Sir Richard Branson poses to celebrate Virgin Money's Birthday in Australia on July 7, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.

(CNN) -- Here's a quick look at the life of founder and CEO of Virgin Group, Ltd., Richard Branson.

Personal:
Birth date: July 18, 1950

Birth place: Surrey, England

Birth name: Richard Charles Nicholas Branson

Father: Edward Branson, lawyer

Mother: Eve (Huntley-Flindt) Branson, flight attendant

Marriages: Joan (Templeman) Branson (1989-present); Kristen (Tomassi) Branson (1972-1976, divorce)

Children: with Joan (Templeman) Branson: Clare Sarah, born and died in 1979; Holly; Sam

Other Facts:
Struggled in school due to dyslexia.

Signed notable artists such as the Sex Pistols, Culture Club, the Rolling Stones and Genesis to the Virgin Records label.

His possessions include Necker Island, Moskito Island, Makepeace Island and Great Britain Island; a super-yacht named the Necker Belle; a submarine named the Necker Nymph and a space craft named SpaceShipTwo or the VSS Enterprise.

Virgin Group has spawned more than 300 companies in leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, media, finance and health.

In 2014, Forbes estimates Branson's net worth as $5.1 billion dollars.

Timeline:
1966 - Starts the magazine "Student" shortly before dropping out of school at the age of 16.

1970 - Founds Virgin, a mail-order record company, and shortly thereafter a record store in London.

1971 - Forms the Virgin Records music label and builds a recording studio.

1973 - Branson's first signed artist, Mike Oldfield, releases the single "Tubular Bells," which stays on the UK charts for 247 weeks.

1984 - Forms Virgin Atlantic airlines.

1987 - Along with Per Lindstrand, becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a hot-air balloon.

1992 - Branson sells Virgin Music Group to Thorn EMI. He says that the sale will allow him to concentrate on his airline, Virgin Atlantic.

1999 - Is knighted for his contributions to entrepreneurship.

June 2004 - Branson crosses the English Channel in one hour, 40 minutes and six seconds in an amphibious vehicle, setting a world record.

September 27, 2004 - Branson announces a licensing deal with Mojave Aerospace Ventures (MAV) to ultimately offer commercial space flights through Virgin Galactic.

December 7, 2009 - Branson unveils SpaceShipTwo, named VSS Enterprise, a commercial spacecraft designed to send passengers into orbit for $200,000 a ticket.

January 29, 2010 - Reveals the Necker Nymph, a three-person submarine that can dive more than 100 feet.

August 23, 2011 - Fire destroys Branson's house on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Approximately 20 people, including Branson, members of his family and actress Kate Winslet, escaped unharmed. A lightning strike ignited the blaze.

November 22, 2013 - Branson announces that travelers for his commercial space travel flight can pay with the digital currency Bitcoin.

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