Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman dies

The board chairman and co-founder of Costco Wholesale Corp Jeff Brotman, 74, (pictured) died in his sleep at his home in Medina, Washington, early Tuesday morning

The board chairman and co-founder of Costco Wholesale Corp Jeff Brotman, 74, (pictured) died in his sleep at his home in Medina, Washington, early Tuesday morning

The board chairman and co-founder of Costco Wholesale Corp died early Tuesday morning.

Jeff Brotman, 74, died in his sleep at his home in Medina, Washington, his brother Michel Brotman told The Seattle Times.

His cause of death is still unknown, but Michel said: 'We assume his heart just stopped working.'

The warehouse club company announced Brotman's death Tuesday in a brief statement. 

'The thoughts of Costco's board, management and employees are with Jeff's wife and family,' the company said.

No other details were provided. 

Brotman, an attorney and business man, opened Costco's first warehouse with Jim Sinegal in 1983 in Seattle.

Based in Issaquah, Washington, the company now operates 736 warehouses around the world, including 511 in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Costco is one of the world's largest retailers and is the largest membership-only warehouse club.  

Sinegal told the Times that the death of his business partner and friend came as 'a complete shock for everyone'.

'Over 35 years, he became not just a business partner but a confidante, a great friend. I’m not exaggerating for a second when I say I loved the guy,' Sinegal said.

Monday night Brotman attended a dinner for about 2,000 Costco warehouse managers who were gathered from around the world at the Washington State Convention Center, according to Sinegal. 

Brotman, (right) an attorney and business man, opened Costco's first warehouse with Jim Sinegal (left) in 1983 in Seattle. The co-founders are pictured in January 2004 at a stockholders meeting

Brotman, (right) an attorney and business man, opened Costco's first warehouse with Jim Sinegal (left) in 1983 in Seattle. The co-founders are pictured in

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