Candlemaker Michael Kittredge II, who founded Yankee Candle as a teenager in his family home in 1969, has died. Kittredge was 67.
He died Wednesday night at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston after a brief illness.
The candles are available in more than 475 company-owned retail stores and more than 19,000 specialty stores in the United States. The company’s flagship store in Deerfield, Massachusetts, is a popular tourist destination.
Kittredge sold the company in 1998 and retired.
Kittredge got back in the candle business in 2010 when he helped his son start Kringle Candle.
He suffered a stroke in 2012 that limited his movement and speech, “but he characteristically battled back with courage and stamina,” the statement said.
He was a two-time cancer survivor and supported the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He was on its board of directors for several years.
He also helped create Cooley-Dickinson Hospital’s Kittredge Surgical Center, Holyoke Community College’s Kittredge Center, and the Kittredge Building at The Bement School in Deerfield.
Kittredge is survived by his son and two daughters.