In February 1980, aged 24, Hughes founded Los Angeles-based Herbalife International. It has since become one of the world's largest distributors of herbal products through multi-level marketing, with sales of about $3.5 billion in 2007 according to company statements.
In 1994. Mark and Suzan Hughes started the Herbalife Family Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping children. The Herbalife Family Foundation and its sister organization, the International Herbalife Family Foundation, have donated more than $5 million to children's causes worldwide
Hughes often stated that his mother died of an accidental overdose of prescription diet pills when he was 18, which he claimed was the impetus for founding Herbalife. Her autopsy and toxicology tests suggest her death was due to an overdose of Darvon, a painkiller.
Mark Hughes died at age 44. The Los Angeles County Coroner autopsy results ruled that the entrepreneur had died of an accidental overdose of large quantities of alcohol and the prescription anti-depressant Doxepin. He died while married to Darcy LaPier to whom he was married for a very short time.
Before his marriage to Lapier, Hughes was married to Suzan Hughes for 10 years. Suzan is the mother to their only son, Alexander.
To the surprise of many, after Mark Hughes death, his attorney Conrad Klein assumed control of all Hughes' ventures including Herbalife, The Herbalife Family Foundation and The Mark Hughes Trust.
In 2006, The Los Angeles Superior Court suggested the potential removal of the Custodian of The Mark Hughes Trust, Jack Reynolds, for the possibility that he may have ceded control of $40,000,000 to Conrad Klein.