Ilya Prigogine was born on January 25, 1917, in Moscow, Russian Federation. The son of a factory director, Prigogine was born in the year of the Russian revolution. When the Bolsheviks began to target industrialists, the family fled to western Europe - first to Germany in 1921, and then to Belgium, where Prigogine eventually took citizenship in 1949.
His father, Roman Prigogine, who died in 1974, was a chemical engineer from the Moscow Polytechnic. His mother, Yulia Vikhman, was a pianist. He had a brother Alexander, who was born in 1913.