Charles Lazarus, the founder of Toys “R” Us died Thursday #Roommates, just days after the company announced it will be closing all of its U.S. stores.

Lazarus, 94, no longer held a stake in the chain. He started the company in 1948 when he was 25, anticipating that the post-war baby boom would create demand for baby supplies and toys. He remained CEO until 1994.

“He was the father of the toy business,” said Michael Goldstein, who is now the CEO. “He knew the toys and loved the toys and loved the kids who would shop in the stores. His face lit up when he watched kids playing with toys.”

The company confirmed his death.

“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.”

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