Burt Shavitz, cofounder and namesake for natural care product company Burt's Bees, has died, the company said on Sunday. He was 80.

Shavitz, a "a wild-bearded and free-spirited Maine man" and beekeeper, co-founded the company with artist Roxanne Quimby in 1984, the company said in a statement.

The pair started off making candles from beeswax before developing a few years later the lip balm that exploded the company's popularity and remains its best selling product, it said.

"It is with broken hearts that we must convey the saddest news: Burt Shavitz, our co-founder and namesake, has left for greener fields and wilder woods," the company said in a statement on Facebook.

A company spokeswoman told USA Today that Shavitz died of respiratory issues on Sunday surrounded by family and friends in Bangor, Maine.

The company was acquired by Clorox Co in 2007.