By Associated Press
Brian Maxwell, founder of the multimillion-dollar PowerBar empire and a former world-class marathon runner, died in San Anselmo, California, of a heart attack at the age of 51 on Friday.
According to friends, Maxwell collapsed at a post office near his home. Emergency personnel called to the scene were unable to resuscitate him and he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Maxwell and his wife Jennifer, a nutritionist, co-founded the popular energy bar company in 1986 and began selling PowerBars out of their kitchen.
Over the next decade, the Berkeley, California-based firm grew to $150 million in sales and 300 employees. In March 2000, the couple sold the company to Nestle SA for a reported $375 million. Maxwell remained on the company’s board of directors and was actively involved in charity work.
Maxwell, who was born in London and grew up in Toronto, represented Canada in many international competitions as a long-distance runner. He was part of Canada’s 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the games in Moscow.
In 1977, Maxwell was the world’s No. 3 marathon runner, as ranked by Track & Field News.
Maxwell decided to create an energy bar after a marathon in which he “bonked” at the 21-mile mark — the point at which the body had completely burned through its stored carbohydrates.
Maxwell is survived by his wife and five children.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the company noted that all of thoseconnected with the firm were “deeply saddened by the sudden passing ofits founder, Brian Maxwell.”Brian and his wife, Jennifer, created the original PowerBar Performancebar in their Berkeley kitchen in 1986. Brian’s vision and personal insightinto the nutritional needs of athletes helped to launch the energy barcategory,” the release noted. “Brian will be remembered as a dynamicinnovator, whose passion was to help athletes perform at their best. Brian’sgenerosity and commitment to others was deeply felt by those around him.”The company noted that details regarding a public memorial service havenot yet been announced. PowerBar will post information at PowerBar.comas details become available.