Street-fashion entrepreneur Jonas Bevacqua, 34, was found dead in his
Los Angeles Laguna Beach home this morning, according to the Twitter account of Karmaloop, an online retailer that sells his LRG apparel [spotted at OC Weekly].
L.A. bling king Ben Baller, Bevacqua's "best fucking friend," Tweeted that he received the tragic news when he woke up today at 8 a.m. However, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office says it has no record of Bevacqua's death last night or this morning -- meaning he was probably transported to a nearby hospital before being declared dead, or had a doctor by his side.
Update: The Associated Press reports that the 34-year-old actually lived in Laguna Beach. Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino tells the AP that "there were no obvious signs of the cause of death" but that the O.C. coroner will conduct an autopsy tomorrow.
Bevacqua founded LRG (skater/hip-hop clothing and accessories) in 1999 with sportswear veteran Robert Wright, and the company took off running -- reporting $150 million in sales by 2006 and coming in as the nation's fifth fastest-growing business (as ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine) in 2007.
Bevacqua's friend Baller, who sells grills, chains and other sparkly street wear in downtown Los Angeles through Internally Flawless & Co., helped break the tragic news this morning:
He'd also posted a long string of photos of himself and Bevacqua on his IF & Co. website by this afternoon. One of Baller's commenters mentioned that "Ben had previously said he was going through some substance abuse issues.. So... damn RIP."
Numerous other reports suggest the 34-year-old may have died from a heart attack.
In a May 6 interview with Hypebeast, Bevacqua told the online mag:
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My greatest achievement with LRG... "is doing exactly this. I love coming here everyday. I love the products we make, the messages we spread and opportunities we give people to use LRG as a platform to get out their own dreams. I'm very thankful to be doing what I'm doing and to play with such a great team. I really believe in our "group," or our collective of people that share a similar vision but also bring value and individualism to the table. One of the key elements to our success is constantly reinventing ourselves. It's true what they say, "The only constant is change." If you think you're going be the same exact person you are five years from now you're completely wrong. In my eyes, if you're not growing or evolving then you're dying."
In the interview, Bevacqua described his brand as representing "the youth, creativity, roots, growth, diversity, intellect and being way above average. Our message is new Americana, it is unity through diversity."
Updates to come.