- Brandon Truaxe, the founder of Canadian beauty company Deciem, has died at age 40, according to a company email.
- Though officials have not confirmed details surrounding Truaxe’s death, his former longtime associate Riyadh Swedaan told Canada’s National Post that he believed Truaxe fell to his death near his apartment building.
- Truaxe rose to fame after founding the company in 2013, a group of brands including The Ordinary, which offered an array of cheap skincare products and gained cult-favourite status.
- The founder’s public image was plagued by months of erratic behaviour on social media before his ouster from the company in December 2018.
“I can’t believe I am typing these words,” acting CEO Nicola Kilner reportedly wrote in a company-wide email over the weekend. “Brandon has passed away over the weekend. Heartbroken doesn’t come close to how I, and how I know many of you will be feeling.”
Kilner also wrote that all the brand’s offices, warehouses, factories and stores would close temporarily so employees can “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.”
“We are all in disbelief and shock but I will be in touch again very soon,” Kilner added.
The email did not include the cause of death.
In a statement to INSIDER Tuesday afternoon, Estée Lauder called Truaxe “a true genius,” and lamented his passing.
“Brandon Truaxe was a true genius, and we are incredibly saddened by the news of his passing,” the statement read. “As the visionary behind Deciem, he positively impacted millions of people around the world with his creativity, brilliance, and innovation.”
The statement continued: “This is a profound loss for us all, and our hearts are with Nicola Kilner and the entire Deciem family.”
Canada’s National Post reported late Monday that longtime Deciem employee Riyadh Swedaan said Truaxe was not under any medical care since his release from a London hospital in November and had been abusing crystal meth.
Swedaan, who said he had been Truaxe’s boyfriend for many years and had lived at Truaxe’s current apartment, said he saw police at the apartment Sunday afternoon but was not informed as to the nature of the incident. However, Swedaan said he believed Truaxe had fallen to the street near the building.
“I don’t think he jumped,” Swedaan told the Post. “I think he fell.”
Police reportedly responded around 1:30 Sunday to a possible suicide at 133 Mill Street, Truaxe’s address, but would not confirm to the Post if Truaxe’s name was associated with the reported incident.
Truaxe founded the cult-favourite beauty company in 2013 and developed several brands under its umbrella, including the wildly popular The Ordinary, which offers a wide array of skincare products around a $US10 price point and sparked $US300 million in sales.
However, Truaxe gained notoriety through his bizarre social media presence, which included erratic posts and videos including one that was posted shortly before his ouster in which he claimed the company was riddled with “major criminal activity.“
Several incoherent videos posted to Truaxe’s personal Instagram account over the weekend show the founder in his Toronto home, the address of which he said on video several times, talking about drinking tequila, and addressing President Donald Trump.
Estée Lauder, previously a minority investor in the company, won a request October 2018 from an Ontario court for Truaxe’s removal. Truaxe lost access to the brand’s social media accounts, was dismissed from his position on Deciem’s board of directors, and was stripped of his ability to hire and fire employees, according to the BBC.
In his place, Estée Lauder handed Deciem’s co-CEO Nicola Kilner Truaxe’s responsibilities.
Canada’s Financial Post reported in December that Truaxe had been hospitalized for suspected mental health issues, which Truaxe denied before admitting to using some drugs, including mushrooms and crystal meth.
An email to Deciem was not immediately returned.
Amanda Krause contributed to this report.
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