The founder of Toys R Us has died aged 94 after a "period of declining health", according to a statement from the toy company.
Charles P Lazarus' death was described as "heartbreaking" by the company he founded in 1957.
The toy and games giant faces the closure of all 100 British stores in the wake of the chain's UK collapse earlier this month.
Some stores have already shut and around 3,000 jobs are at risk.
"There have been many sad moments for Toys"R"Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today's news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus, after a period of declining health," the company told Sky News.
"He visited us in New Jersey just last year and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles' family and loved ones," they added.
The company also tweeted to mark his death.
There have been many sad moments for Toys"R"Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today's news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles' family and loved ones.— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) March 22, 2018
Mr Lazarus served as a cryptologist in the Second World War and returned home in the hopes of starting a family.
Nickednamed the "Toy King" by the press during the chain's heyday, Mr Lazarus launched what became Toys R Us aged 25.
Inspired by his father's bike shop, Mr Lazarus began selling baby furniture in his Washington store called Children's Supermart in 1948.
As parents began to ask for toys, the American entrepreneur met their demand and in 1957 the business evolved into the famous toy store.
Toys R Us now has stores across the globe but in recent months has hit financial troubles.
As first reported by Sky News, the company's UK operation struggled following weak Christmas trading which left it with little hope of paying a £15m VAT bill demand.
Toys R Us is struggling internationally, except in Asia. It sought bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada last year.
Should you block ads? Adblocker