Charles Lazarus, who founded Toys “R” Us 70 years ago, died today at 94, the company confirmed. The news comes a a week after the company announced that it will shut down all U.S. stores and liquidate all of its assets.
Lazarus founded the retail chain 70 years ago to cater to the post-war baby boom era, according to the company’s history. His first store, Children’s Bargain Town in Washington D.C., started off as a baby furniture store, and soon started selling toys at the location.
Lazarus was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1994, he stepped down as chairman and CEO of the company.
“There have been many sad moments for Toys “R” Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder,” Toys “R” Us said in a statement. “He visited us in New Jersey just last year, and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”