Japan property tycoon Minoru Mori dies at 77

Property tycoon Minoru Mori, who was one of Japan's most influential developers and built China's tallest building, has died.

Company officials said Monday that Mori, chairman of Mori Building Co., died last Thursday of heart failure. He was 77.

The company said Mori had been receiving medical treatment for some time but gave no further details.

Mori, from Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto, co-founded Mori Building with his father Taikichiro in 1959 and became president in 1993, when Japan's land prices were surging amid its "bubble" economy.

With his visions of a "vertical garden city," Mori transformed Tokyo's landscape with mammoth mixed-use development projects such as Roppongi Hills, Ark Hills and Atago Green Hills. Many buildings around the city bear his family name.

Other Asian cities also appealed to him.

His 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center, which opened in 2008, has the world's highest rooftop at 1,614 feet and highest observation deck. He acquired the site in 1994 and piling work began three years later just as the Asian financial crisis hit. The land sat idle for six years.

The project finally hit the market just as the Chinese property market began cooling after years of growth, although space remains tight for top-grade office space, the quality that Mori wanted to offer.

Survivors and funeral details were not disclosed in accordance with his wishes, the company said.