Fishing League Worldwide Chairman and CEO Irwin Jacobs and his wife were found dead Wednesday at their Minnesota home, authorities said.
Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok said the bodies of Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs were found in a bed along with a gun. Farniok would not confirm if it was a murder-suicide but told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that investigators were not looking for any suspects. Both Alexandra and Irwin were 77.
Irwin Jacobs was well known in the marine industry through the FLW Tour and the now-defunct Genmar Holdings, which at one time was reportedly the largest boatbuilder in the world.
“We are heartbroken by this loss, and we ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time,” the Jacobs’ children said in a statement to the media.
Jacobs in the 1970s earned a reputation as a corporate raider, taking failing companies and liquidating the businesses. He helped launch the television shopping channel Cable Value Network, which was later sold to QVC. Jacobs at one time held a minority stake in the Minnesota Vikings.
Jacobs, who lived in the Minneapolis area, bought the bass-tournament organization and renamed it the FLW Tour after the founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. Jacobs signed Walmart as a title sponsor and got leading consumer brands such as General Motors and Procter & Gamble involved in the sport.
FLW Outdoors made history in 2007 by awarding the first $1 million prize to an angler who won the Forrest Wood Cup championship. Jacobs was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2010.
When Jacobs owned Genmar Holdings, the company had venerable brands Scarab Boats, Wellcraft and Hatteras Yachts. The company also produced Crestliner, Glastron and Larson Boats among other brands. Slammed by the recession, Genmar filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. Genmar was later liquidated and the assets were auctioned off.
The Jacobs were philanthropic in Minneapolis providing funding for group homes for disabled individual and the arts community.