Burt's Bee's co-founder dies at 80

The reclusive co-founder of Burt’s Bees whose face adorns every tube of balm and salve sold by the natural cosmetics company, died Sunday at 80.

The Associated Press reported that Burt Shavitz died of respiratory complications in Bangor, Maine, surrounded by friends and family. He lived in a cluttered house with no running water, while a converted turkey coop that once served as his house rested on the property.

“Burt was an enigma; my mentor and my muse. I am deeply saddened,” said partner, ex-lover former CEO Roxanne Quimby to The Associated Press in an email. They started the company together in the 1980s as a beekeeper and a passing single mother and back-to-the-lander.

Shavitz said he was forced out of the company in 1994 after having an affair with an employee. He sold his shares to Quimby in 1999 for $US130,000, the Washington Post reported.

In 2007, Clorox bought the company for more than $US900 million. Quimby gave Shavitz just $US4 million of the cut, the Post reported, with 37 acres in an isolated part of Maine.

He would later tell the Associated Press: “What I have in this situation is no regret.”

When asked about his severance from the company, Shavitz told the documentary makers of Burt’s Buzz: “In the long run, I got land, and land is everything.”

In his final days, Shavitz spent his time watching wildlife.

“Burt was a complex man who sought a simple life in pace with the seasons of nature on his land,” the company said in a statement. “If there is one thing we will remember from Burt’s life, in our fast-paced, high-tech culture, it’s to never lose sight of our relationship with nature.”

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