In Remembrance: Entrepreneurs We Lost in 2013
Over this year, the startup community lost several visionaries who each had a profound impact on their respective industries. From Aaron Swartz who fought for a more open Internet to Eiji Toyoda, the father of "lean manufacturing," these talented people will be missed. Scroll below to see a list of eight great entrepreneurs who died in 2013.
The Ace Hotel chain was growing when founder Alex Calderwood died this past November. He was 47. In 1999, Calderwood and two friends started the first hotel in Seattle, according to the Associated Press. Its vintage style has since been widely imitated. Calderwood and his team later opened hotels in Portland, New York City, Palm Springs and London. Other locations are scheduled to open soon in Panama City, Panama, and Los Angeles.
A programming prodigy, Aaron Swartz coauthored the specifications for RSS at age 14. Swartz is remembered for his Internet activism, as he advocated for the opening of numerous web files to the public. In 2011, he was indicted on federal charges of gaining illegal access to JSTOR and downloading millions of articles, according to the New York Times. Swartz committed suicide Jan. 11 after years of battling depression. He was 26 years old.
Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, known for her brightly-colored, tropical print dress line, died April 7, 2013 at age 81. She had married into the wealthy Pulitzer publishing family, and she and her husband lived on the family's estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Pulitzer started running a fruit stand off of Worth Avenue, and soon her dresses -- rather than her juice -- became the talk of the town. There she began selling a dress line, a version of which is still available today.
Japanese Automotive Hall of Famer and former Toyota Motors president Eiji Toyoda died in September at age 100. He designed the "lean manufacturing" method, which was later adopted by many other industries to help eliminate waste from their own processes. Toyoda was president of Toyota from 1967 to 1982, the New York Times reported in his obituary. During his time working at the family business, he helped transform it from a textile loom maker into the globe's largest automaker.
Jody Sherman founded Las Vegas-based Ecomom, a site for eco-friendly and organic products. He started the company in 2008, and it raised more than $10 million. Sherman committed suicide in January 2013, and soon after Ecomom entered into Assignment for Benefit of Creditors -- an alternative to filing for bankruptcy -- according to Business Insider. After his death, many from the entrepreneurial community took to the Internet to discuss the need for a more open dialog about the psychological pressures of running a new company.
Videogame company Nintendo was founded in Japan in 1889. Back then it was a playing card company. Hiroshi Yamauchi, a college dropout, took over the family business in 1949 after his grandfather's death. Over his 43-year tenure as Nintendo's president, he helped to launch some of the world's most popular videogame consoles. He died in September at the age of 85.
Famed chef Charlie Trotter, whose Chicago restaurant was nationally renowned, died in November at age 54. Trotter opened the restaurant, called Charlie Trotter’s, in 1987. By 1999, he was hosting the PBS television series "The Kitchen Sessions With Charlie Trotter." After 25 years, Trotter closed his restaurant in 2012. By then he knew he had a brain aneurysm, according to the Chicago Tribune. Later, an autopsy determined that Trotter died of a stroke.
Once a scrawny and bullied teen, Canadian-born Joe Weider went on to create a body building empire in the United States. Weider co-founded the International Federation of Body Builders, which sponsored the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia contests among other fitness competitions, according to the New York Times. A bodybuilder himself, Weider started the magazines Flex, Men's Fitness and Shape. He reportedly maintained his physique into his 80s. He died on March 23 at age 93.