Michael Kittredge II, Yankee Candle founder, dead at 67

The founder of the popular American manufacturer and retailer Yankee Candle has died.

CNN reported that a spokesman confirmed the death of Michael Kittredge II. He died at age 67 on Wednesday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston following a brief illness, the spokesman, Tim O'Brien, said.

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Kittredge was surrounded by friends and family when he died, O'Brien said.

According to the Yankee Candle website, Kittredge was "too broke to buy his mother a present" in 1969 and at age 16 melted crayons to make her a candle. A neighbor saw it and convinced him to sell it to her. He used the money to buy enough wax to make another one for his mother and another to sell.

The Greenfield Recorder reported that Kittredge's success with Yankee Candle also led to the development of "entertainment retailing" concepts widely used today. He sold Yankee Candle and retired from the business in 1998. In 2009, he returned to the candle business and helped his son, Michael James Kittredge III, start his own Kringle Candle business.

Kittredge II survived cancer twice and, although he had a stroke in 2012 that affected his movement and speech, he worked toward regaining his speech. He was a board member and supporter of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and was a philanthropist in his community.

Kittredge II is survived by his son, daughters Kylie Madison and Casey Jean, and other family members.

A public funeral has not been announced. Family members have asked that donations be made to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Kittredge Surgical Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College, and The Bement School.

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