Ricard was the titular head of the Pernod Ricard family and during three decades as chief executive and chairman of the French group he transformed it from a company famous for aniseed liqueur into a business with £7.6 billion annual sales.
He died on Friday at a hospital in Toulon in southern France from a suspected heart attack.
The company has not released details of the death or any plans for a successor, but said in a statement: “The family, the board of directors and the general management of Pernod Ricard have the sad duty to inform you of the sudden death of Patrick Ricard.”
Medef Laurence Parisot, the head of the French business leaders’ association, said in a statement that Ricard “was capable of personifying both the great entrepreneurial French tradition and the finest modern values.”
Ricard joined the company, founded by his father Paul, in 1967.
Five years later he became managing director and then in 1978 he was promoted to chief executive and chairman.
In 2008, he resigned his executive duties at the head of the group but continued as chairman of the board.
He was married with three children.