William Salice, the Italian confectioner credited with the creation of the Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, has died aged 83.
He was undergoing treatment for a stroke in hospital in Pavia, northern Italy.
Salice was one of a number of people who had a hand in launching the iconic chocolate, supposedly invented as a way for the Ferrero food company to use Easter egg chocolate moulds all year round.
A native of Turin, Salice himself said the chocolate's inventor was his friend Michele Ferrero, the company's publicity-shy owner who died in 2015.
Ferrero's company was behind Nutella and the well-known hazelnut chocolates Ferrero Rocher.
The Kinder Surprise - which combines a milk chocolate shell with a white chocolate interior and includes a small plastic children's toy - was launched in 1974.
Salice joined Ferrero in 1960 and retired in 2007, investing his sizeable retirement bonus in the Colour Your Life foundation, an education charity.
He died on Thursday in Pavia, according to Italian news reports.