"Burt's Buzz" New York Screening
Credit: Noam Galai/WireImage

The founder of Burt's Bees beauty brand, Burt Shavitz, passed away at the age of 80. He was surrounded by family and friends in Bangor, Maine, where he died due to respiratory complications, USA Today reports.

"Burt Shavitz, our co-founder and namesake has left for greener fields and wilder woods," the company said in a statement on its website. "We remember him as a bearded, free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers and his land. Above all, he taught us to never lose sight of our relationship with nature. Thanks for everything, Burt. You will live in our hearts forever."

The famously bearded Shavitz started out as a beekeeper selling honey to locals in Maine and in 1984 founded Burt's Bees with Roxanna Quimby, after she started using his beeswax to make candles. Over the next few years the company grew and expanded into lotions, soaps, and bath products, and finally rolled out its signature lip balm in 1991. Shavitz and Quimby's partnership ended in 1994, and in 2007 Clorox purchased Burt's Bees for more than $900 million.

Shavitz was also the center of a documentary called Burt's Buzz which focused on his alternative life as well as approach to business. Watch the trailer for the film here: