He was born and raised in the family of Violetta Prigozhina. His father died early, so his mother supported him and his sick grandmother by working at a local hospital. His father and stepfather were of Jewish descent.
In 1977, he graduated from sports boarding school No. 62. He was involved in cross-country skiing, which was taught to him by his stepfather, ski instructor Samuel Zharkoi.
On 29 November 1979, he was sentenced to a suspended sentence for theft (Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR), and in 1981, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbery and fraud (Articles 146 and 147). He was released on parole after serving 9 years of his sentence.
He completed his studies at the St Petersburg State Chemical and Pharmaceutical Academy, specialising as a pharmacist.
In 1990, he organised a hot dog chain in Leningrad. In 1995, he opened several shops and restaurants in St Petersburg.
Since the 2000s, he has been involved in construction projects.
Prigozhin is called Putin's "chef" because of his large food business, which makes money from government contracts.
He is listed in the database of the Myrotvorets centre.
According to Fontanka.ru, he is associated with the head of Wagner's private military company (PMC), Dmitry Utkin, whose entourage included the head of the security service of one of Prigozhin's companies.
On 14 August 2022, after the shelling of the PMC's base in Popasna, unconfirmed information appeared about Prigozhin's injury, which Prigozhin later denied.
On 14 September 2022, a video from a Russian penal colony was posted online, where a man described by the businessman's press service as "extremely similar to Prigozhin" recruits criminals for the war in Ukraine as part of the Wagner group. The next day, Prigozhin confirmed that the PMC was fighting in the Bakhmut sector and stated that he considered the recruitment of prisoners to be a means of preventing Russian civilians from being involved in the fighting.
On 23 September 2022 (after the announcement of mobilisation in Russia), the press service of Prygozhyn's company Concord reported that, according to Prygozhyn, his son Pavlo went to war in Syria a month after completing his military service and since then "has been constantly in hot spots as part of Wagner's PMC" and was awarded the Black Cross.
On 24 September 2022, he arrived in Volgograd to attend the burial of one of the PMC mercenaries, Alexei Nagin, in the Stalingradskaya Museum with three insignia on his chest - a hero of the Russian Federation, LPR and DPR.
On 26 September 2022, Prigozhin admitted his involvement in the creation of the Wagner PMC: the Concord press service published his story about the creation of the organisation in the spring of 2014, "when the genocide of the Russian population of Donbas began". According to Prigozhin, the "group of patriots", which was later named the "Wagner Battalion Tactical Group", was created on 1 May 2014. According to Prigozhin, it was solely thanks to Wagner's mercenaries that the Luhansk airport and many other territories were captured, "the fate of the LPR and DPR changed"; according to Prigozhin, Wagner's men "defended the Syrian people, other peoples of Arab countries, disadvantaged Africans and Latin Americans" - and "became one of the pillars" of Russia.
According to the Russian Emergencies Ministry, Prigozhin died in a plane crash on 23 August 2023 during a Moscow to St Petersburg flight near the village of Kuzhenkino, Tver Region, Russia. It is reported that all 10 people (7 passengers and 3 crew members) on board the Embraer Legacy 600 business jet died. According to the Russian state news agency TASS, Prigozhin himself was also among the passengers.
According to the Telegram channel associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the plane of the Wagner PMC leader was shot down by Russian air defence forces over the Tver region