Brandon Truaxe, the founder and former CEO of the cult skin care brand Deciem and creator of the Ordinary products, has died, the company said in a statement. He was 40 years old.
"Brandon, our founder and friend," the statement begins. "You touched our hearts, inspired our minds and made us believe that anything is possible. Thank you for every laugh, every learning and every moment of your genius. Whilst we can't imagine a world without you, we promise to take care of each other and will work hard to continue your vision. May you finally be at peace. Love, (forever) your DECIEM ❤"
Truaxe's cause of death is not yet known. A representative of Deciem did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for more information.
Estée Lauder, a cosmetics company that is a minority stake investor in Deciem, released a statement Monday calling Truaxe a "true genius."
"As the visionary behind Deciem, he positively impacted millions of people around the world with his creativity, brilliance and innovation," the statement said. "This is a profound loss for us all, and our hearts are with Nicola Kilner and the entire Deciem family."
According to Vox, Kilner, Deciem's acting CEO, emailed staff Monday to inform them that Truaxe died over the weekend.
"All offices, warehouses, factories and stores please close today and take the time to cry with sadness, smile at the good times we had, reflect on what his genius built and hug your loved ones that little harder," Kilner wrote to staff, according to Vox.
Truaxe started Deciem in 2013 and went on to launch The Ordinary and NIOD.
They have become leading brands in the self-care and skin care movement and have been praised for being affordable and transparent.
However, some people questioned the stability of the company following Truaxe's erratic behavior.
In January 2018, Truaxe announced that he would be taking over Deciem's Instagram and responding to all emails himself. In April he reportedly fired the company's US staff, and in May he published a now-deleted open letter in which he hinted at "financial wrongdoings/crimes of one and/or more of DECIEM’s shareholders."
In October he posted a rambling video to Deciem’s official Instagram account, in which he said the company was immediately shutting down and accused his colleagues of being "involved in a major criminal activity."
Truaxe was ousted from his role in October 2018 after Estée Lauder told a Canadian court he has caused “irreparable harm” to the business.