LOS ANGELES — Jonas Bevacqua, who co-founded the popular street clothing brand LRG in 1999 and presided over its rapid rise as a major fashion force among young people, was found dead Tuesday. He was 34.
Orange County sheriff's officials said Bevacqua's body was found in his Laguna Beach home.
"There were no obvious signs of the cause of death," sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino told The Associated Press. He added that the county coroner would conduct an autopsy Wednesday.
A statement on Irvine-based LRG's website describes Bevacqua as a friend, partner, father and mentor.
"We ask that everyone keep his family in their hearts and prayers and respect their privacy in this time of incredible grief," the statement reads in part.
According to the company's Facebook page, Bevacqua and his business partner, Robert Wright, founded Lifted Research Group, known to patrons as LRG, with start-up capital raised in part from friends of Bevacqua's adoptive father.
Bevacqua had dropped out of college and moved back home with his parents when he met Wright while working as a DJ at Southern California clubs. The two sketched out some of their earliest fashion ideas in his bedroom.
Deeply influenced by Southern California's skateboard, surfing and hip hop culture, he said he and Wright began making clothes that reflected their interests but that no one else seemed to be providing.
"I grew up in a pretty unique environment and was exposed to a lot of different things," he said in a 2009 interview with the Orange County Register. "I didn't feel there was a clothing company to bridge the gap between all these different things that we were into - that spoke for that melting pot of what was going on. That's what LRG was all about."
By 2006, LRG had annual sales of $150 million and was named by Entrepreneur magazine as No. 5 on its list of that year's 500 fastest growing companies. Among its popular clothing lines are Luxirie, which targets 18- to 30-year-old women, offering clothing with Western and military themes, and items such as crystal-covered jeans.
Initially a clothing company, LRG has since branched out to include sales of electronic devices, music and other items. It described itself as a "creative lifestyle" company that attempts to reflect its founders' interests, not only in fashion but also environmental causes and other activities.
"The company is also involved in the promotion of underground recording artists and sponsors a skateboarding team," according to its website.
In the 2009 Register interview, Bevacqua described a passionate but casual work ethic that he said drives LRG, whose headquarters includes a basketball court and skateboard half-bowl and ramp.
"No one is really a suit-and-tie-guy," he said of LRG's employees. "If anybody wears a suit, it's because he wants to, not because he has to."
Bevacqua is survived by his mother, father, son, fiancee and seven siblings, according to the company's website.