Nov 22, 2019
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Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton Carpenter dies

Nov 22, 2019

Jake Burton Carpenter, snowboarding pioneer and the founder of Burton Snowboards, died on Wednesday night at the age of 65, after complications from a relapse of testicular cancer.

Instagram @burton

The company announced Carpenter's death to the public today on its social media platforms, while company employees received the news via email. 

Carpenter was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, and overcame the disease, only to later be diagnosed with Miller Fisher Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that left him temporarily paralyzed. With the help of an intense rehabilitation process, he was able to make a recovery. His cancer returned in 2019, which Carpenter disclosed to staff via email early this month.

“You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back,” Carpenter wrote. “It’s the same tumor as the first time around. We just never got rid of it all. A bit of it hung out in my lymph nodes and got back into business. The odds are in my favor, but it is going to be a struggle for sure.”

Weeks later Burton's CEO, John Lacy, informed employees of Carpenter’s passing. 

Carpenter, who helped develop the modern snowboard, first founded the company in 1977, at the young age of 23. Although snowboarding was a marginal sport at the time — only becoming an Olympic sport in 1998 — Carpenter’s tenacity helped launch snowboarding into the mainstream and made Burton into a multi-million dollar company. To date, Burton has sponsored many of the most prominent figures in the sport, including Shaun White and Chloe Kim, and  established its own snowboarding competition, the Burton U.S. Open. 

Prior to his passing, Carpenter’s latest project was creating Mine77, a limited-edition collection of apparel and gear enhanced with tech elements and innovative fabrics.

Burton is a private company that does not release financials, but its annual sales were reportedly higher than $500 million as of 2015. Currently, Burton operates over 30 flagship stores across America, Europe and Asia.

Carpenter is survived by his wife, Donna, as well as his sons Timi, George and Taylor. 

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