An autopsy on the 33-year-old co-founder of a popular hip hop-oriented Southern California clothing company has failed to determine a cause of death, and authorities will now wait for results from toxicological and other tests, authorities said Wednesday.
Fashion entrepreneur Jonas Bevacqua was found dead Tuesday at his Laguna Beach home. Authorities have ruled out homicide, and there was no immediate indication Bevacqua was suffering from a medical condition, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said. Tests could take six to eight weeks to come back, he said.
Bevacqua and his partner, Robert Wright, founded Lifted Research Group, known to patrons as LRG, in 1999 with start-up capital raised in part from friends of Bevacqua's father.
The company has grown to become a major supplier of popular urban fashion wear. LRG cites Kobe Bryant, Kanye West and Quentin Tarantino as among numerous celebrities who wear its clothes.
"Jonas was a star who burned brightly in the sky and who is gone far too soon," LRG said in a statement posted on its website. "There is a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. He will always be loved and missed by his friends, family, and all those he inspired."
Bevacqua had dropped out of college and moved back home with his parents when he met Wright in the 1990s while working as a DJ at Southern California clubs. The two sketched out some of their earliest fashion ideas in his bedroom.
Deeply influenced by Southern California's skateboard, surfing and hip-hop culture, he said he and Wright began making clothes that reflected their interests but that no one else seemed to be providing.
"I grew up in a pretty unique environment and was exposed to a lot of different things," he said in a 2009 interview with the Orange County Register. "I didn't feel there was a clothing company to bridge the gap between all these different things that we were into _ that spoke for that melting pot of what was going on. That's what LRG was all about."
By 2006, LRG had annual sales of $150 million and was named by Entrepreneur magazine as No. 5 on its list of that year's 500 fastest growing companies. Among its popular clothing lines are Luxirie, which targets 18- to 30-year-old women, offering clothing with Western and military themes, and items such as crystal-covered jeans.
Initially a clothing company, LRG has since branched out to include sales of electronic devices, music and other items. It describes itself as a "creative lifestyle" company that attempts to reflect its founders' interests, not only in fashion but also environmental causes and other activities.
The company is also involved in the promotion of underground recording artists and sponsors a skateboarding team.
Bevacqua grew up in a multicultural family that included eight siblings, seven of whom, including him, were adopted.
He is survived by his mother, father, son, fiancee and seven brothers and sisters.