Brandon Truaxe, the founder of Deciem and company's former co-CEO, has passed away at the age of 40.
According to reports from Vox and Fashionista, current Deciem CEO Nicola Kilner confirmed the news in an internal email on Monday. According to Vox, Kilner alerted the company with the following email: "I can’t believe I am typing these words. Brandon has passed away over the weekend. Heartbroken doesn’t come close to how I, and how I know many of you will be feeling. All offices, warehouses, factories and stores please close today and take the time to cry with sadness, smile at the good times we had, reflect on what his genius built and hug your loved ones that little harder. We are all in disbelief and shock but I will be in touch again very soon. I love you all incredibly much, as did he."
Deciem — as well as breakout star The Ordinary, Deciem's affordable skin-care line — launched in 2013. In just a few short years, The Ordinary was racking up lengthy wait lists and scoring rave reviews from beauty editors and many, many celebrities. In 2017, Estée Lauder acquired a minority stake in the brand.
Over the past year, Truaxe became a controversial figure as the company's public face. He often posted to Deciem's Instagram feed directly in increasingly volatile messages accusing Estée Lauder and specific executives of "financial crimes." In October, Truaxe shared a video to Instagram announcing that he was temporarily shutting down the company. Estée Lauder took legal action and a judge removed Truaxe from the company, appointing Kilner to her current position as acting CEO.
In December, a report in the Financial Post revealed Truaxe had been hospitalized various times in London and Toronto for mental health concerns. (It is important to note that, while Truaxe reportedly struggled with his mental health, a cause of death has not been confirmed, so until further notice any speculation as to how he passed away is simply that: speculation.) Truaxe last posted on Instagram January 19, with videos on his personal Instagram page showing him alone in his penthouse in Toronto.
A spokesperson from The Estée Lauder Companies has provided the following statement: "Brandon Truaxe was a true genius, and we are incredibly saddened by the news of his passing. As the visionary behind Deciem, he positively impacted millions of people around the world with his creativity, brilliance and innovation. This is a profound loss for us all, and our hearts are with Nicola Kilner and the entire Deciem family."
Deciem has posted a tribute to Truaxe on Instagram. "Whilst we can’t imagine a world without you, we promise to take care of each other and will work hard to continue your vision," it reads.
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, depression, or both, help is available. In an emergency situation, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.