Toys R Us founder dies as the retailer collapses

Charles Lazarus founded Toys R Us in 1949. He died at the age of 94.

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Charles Lazarus with Toy Truck
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The founder of Toys R Us has died -- a week after news of Toys R Us' closure broke.

Charles Lazarus started the iconic toy retailer, originally titled Children's Supermarket, in 1948. He died of natural causes at the age of 94.

"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, Charles Lazarus, after a period of declining health," the company said through its Twitter account.

"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."  

He was CEO of the firm until 1994, when he stepped down.

Six months after filing for bankruptcy protection in the US, and one month after a similar collapse in the UK, Toys R Us announced last week plans to shut down every single one of its nearly 900 stores in both the US and UK. Toys R Us stores in Australia, France, Spain, and Poland will probably be liquidated too, CEO David Brandon told employees, reports the Wall Street Journal.