As head of the Haribo candy company, Hans Riegel made the Gummi Bear famous and popular. (Rolf Vennenbernd/Associated Press)

Hans Riegel turned little gold bears into a global candy success story.

In a career spanning almost seven decades, Riegel was the driving force who made Haribo’s Gummi Bears a sugary staple in Germany and around the world, beloved for their bright colors, teddy-bear shape and an earworm jingle that insisted “kids and grown-ups love it so.”

The man who helped make his family-owned company a global household name died Tuesday at age 90 in Bonn, Germany.

Riegel was the son of the company founder, also named Hans Riegel, who in 1920 set up Haribo (which stands for Hans Riegel, Bonn). In 1922, the elder Riegel invented the “dancing bear,” a small bear made of fruit gum that laid the foundations for Haribo’s later success.

The company claims to churn out 100 million bears each day to feed a hunger for jellied treats in places around the world. Haribo also makes other gummy treats, but none as cute as the bite-size bears.

— Associated Press