Brandon Truaxe, the founder of beauty company Deciem, has died, the brand confirmed on social media.
In a company-wide email, obtained and reviewed by Vox’s The Goods, acting CEO Nicola Kilner informed Deciem staff that Truaxe, 40, had passed away over the weekend. She also asked that all Deciem offices, warehouses, factories, and stores close on Monday to “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.”
“Heartbroken doesn’t come close to how I, and how I know many of you will be feeling,” Kilner wrote in the email. “We are all in disbelief and shock but I will be in touch again very soon.”
Since Truaxe founded Deciem in 2013, the brand has gained a major cult following for its ingredient transparency, affordability, and minimalist aesthetic. After launching the Ordinary, the Everlane of skin care, the company reportedly made $300 million in sales.
But starting in early 2018, Truaxe began to act erratically both on- and off-line, instigating months of drama at the company. In mid-October, after Estée Lauder — which owns 28 percent of Deciem — hit Truaxe with a lawsuit over his behavior, an Ontario judge ruled that he was out as CEO. Since then, Truaxe was reportedly hospitalized under suspicion of severe mental-health issues in mid-November, per a report by Canada’s Financial Post, though Truaxe denied that he was mentally ill.
After reports of Truaxe’s death emerged, Deciem confirmed the news in an emotional Instagram post, thanking Truaxe for “every laugh, every learning and every moment of [his] 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,” the caption reads. “May you finally be at peace.”
This post will be updated as more information emerges.