Founder of The North Face, ESPIRIT dies after kayak capsizes in Chile

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/AP) – The founder of North Face died of severe hypothermia Tuesday after his kayak capsized in Chile.

Douglas Tompkins, The North Face
FILE – In this July 7, 1997, file photo, American millionaire Douglas Tompkins, left, and Juan Villarzu, chief of staff of the Chilean president, hold the text of an accord signed in Santiago, Chile. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin, File)

Douglas Tompkins, who was also an avid environmental activist, was 72 years old.

The Associated Press reports Tompkins was boating with five others when their kayaks capsized in a lake in Patagonia, Chile. He died in the ICU hours later.

The company said on their Facebook page he founded North Face in 1966 as a small ski and backpacking retail and mail order business.

“He was a passionate advocate for the environment, and his legacy of conversation is one that we hope to help continue in the work we do every day,” the company wrote.

Tompkins also owned thousands of acres of land in Patagonia after retiring in 1989 and focusing on conservation and environmentalism.

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