Burt Shavitz, co-founder of Burt’s Bees, passed away on July 5 in Bangor, Maine.
The beekeeper and face of the natural cosmetics line died at age 80 from respiratory complications, according to The Associated Press.
Shavitz and his business partner Roxanne Quimby first teamed up in 1984 in Maine. Shavitz, who sold honey on the side of the road, joined forces with Quimby to make candles using beeswax from his hives.
The duo sold the candles at a craft fair, along with the now-famous beeswax lip balm, and the company took off from there. "Burt was an enigma; my mentor and my muse. I am deeply saddened," Quimby told The Associated Press in an email.
Shavitz was the subject of the 2013 documentary Burt’s Buzz, in which he revealed how he got his start in the bee industry: “The year before, a guy that I’d been buying honey from, who was a beekeeper, had given me everything I needed to be a beekeeper except the bees — a hive, a mask, gloves, a smoker, a hive tool, everything,” Shavitz recalled. “So, there was this fencepost, and I said, ‘My lord, this is an act of God! I can’t turn this down.’”
Burt’s Bees was sold in 2007 to Clorox for more than $900 million.