Rome: Ottavio Missoni, co-founder of the famous Italian fashion house Missoni, died on Thursday at the age of 92, his family said.

The Italian fashion company Missoni gave no cause of death for the patriarch, saying only that Ottavio had "passed away serenely" in his home in the town of Sumirago on Thursday.

Ottavio Missoni was born Feb 11, 1921 and spent his youth training as an athlete. He fought at the battle of El Alamein in the Second World War, and was taken prisoner by British forces in 1942, a magazine reported.

In 1948, he took part in the Olympic Games in London, taking sixth place in the 400 meter hurdles.

In 1953, he married Rosita Jelmini, whose family owned a textile factory in Varese in the north of Italy. It was this union that brought about the creation of the fashion house Missoni.

Missoni shot to fame in the 1960s with its radical reinvention of ready-to-wear knits and trademark jagged-line pattern.

The first Missoni boutique opened in 1976, the same year that Ottavio Missoni was named one of the 10 most elegant men in the world.

In 1983, Missoni designed costumes for the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor", which premiered in Milan.

Earlier this year, Vittorio Missoni, the company's CEO and Ottavio's eldest child, was declared missing after a private plane he was travelling in vanished off the coast of Venezuela shortly after take-off Jan 4.

Search efforts found no trace of the plane, although media reports said luggage belonging to Vittorio Missoni washed up on a Caribbean island a month later.