Burt of Burt's Bees dies at 80

burt shavitz bees
Burt Shavitz, co-founder of personal care company Burt's Bees, has died at 80.

Burt Shavitz, co-founder and namesake of natural personal care company Burt's Bees, has passed away at 80.

"We remember him as a wild-bearded and free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers..." the company said in a statement. "Above all, Burt was always Burt -- an uncompromising individual of his own invention."

Shavitz died of respiratory complications in Maine, and was surrounded by family and friends.

Burt's Bees started by chance -- Shavitz, a bearded beekeeper who sold honey from a roadside stand, pulled over one day in 1984 to pick up hitchhiker Roxanne Quimby. The two hit it off, and Quimby started making candles from Shavitz's beeswax.

Related: The man who wants to save the bees

The pair made $200 at their first craft fair selling the candles, and within a year, pulled in $20,000, according to a company timeline. Soon, they started making all kinds of other products -- featuring Shavitz's face and beard on the labels -- including Burt's Bees' iconic beeswax lip balm.

Burt's Bees was sold for $1 billion to Clorox (CLX) in 2007.

The company remains one of the most recognizable natural care brands in the U.S.

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