Jake Burton Carpenter who creator the Burton snowboarding empire, a name synonymous with boarding since the early years of the sport, has died of cancer at the age of 65.

Burton, founded his company in Vermont in 1977 selling 300 snowboards in its first year.  In the more than four decades since Jake Burton and his company, which now employs more than 1,000 people with offices worldwide, has been as key driving force behind the sport of snowboarding.

The included initially getting ski areas to accept snowboarders on their slopes, then promoting the creation of terrain parks and in the 1990s pushing for the inclusion of snowboarding in the Winter Olympics.

A statement on his company’s social media says,

“It is with a very heavy heart that we share that Burton founder Jake Burton Carpenter passed away peacefully last night surrounded by his family and loved ones as a result of complications from recurring cancer. He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much. #RideonJake”

Jake Burton was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011 but was later given a clear bill of health. However less than two weeks ago he wrote to company employees to tell them the cancer had returned.

Burton are asking that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the The Chill Foundation