May 09, 2012 08:45 PM

Dave Allocca/Starpix/AP

Legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon died in his Bel Air home on Wednesday morning. He was 84.

The famed coiffeur passed away from apparent natural causes at the house on Mulholland Drive, where family members were present, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman.

Born in England, Sassoon grew up in London’s Cockney East End. Placed in an orphanage as an infant, he dropped out of school at 14 to work as a shampoo boy in a small salon. After volunteering to fight for Israel in the Negev Desert in 1948, he returned to London to open his first salon. “If I had to be in hair, I was going to do it my way,” he told PEOPLE (read the magazine’s 1976 profile of the just-budding mogul here).

The stylist eventually developed a trademark geometric cut, and beginning in the 1960s, clipped the hair of such stars as Mia Farrow and British fashion icon Mary Quant.

Over time Sassoon earned many more celebrity clients, moved to Los Angeles and launched a successful product line and an international chain of salons. But in 2011, the
Daily Mail
reported the magnate was suffering from leukemia, a battle he kept private.

Married four times, Sassoon had four children with his second wife, Beverly, and is survived by fourth wife Rhonda.

–Kate Hogan

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