North Face co-founder Doug Tompkins dies in kayaking accident

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NEW YORK – The co-founder of popular outdoor clothing company North Face, Doug Tompkins, died early Tuesday after a kayaking accident in Patagonia.

North Face co-founder Doug Tompkins, 72, died in a kayaking accident, the company confirmed.

North Face co-founder Doug Tompkins, 72, died in a kayaking accident Tuesday. (Instagram)

Tompkins, 72, was with a group of kayakers crossing General Carrera Lake in Coyhaique, Chile, when his craft capsized amid high winds, a staff member of Conservacion Patgonica, his wife’s non-profit, told Outside Online.

Tompkins was taken by helicopter to Coyhaique Hospital near the lake, where he underwent treatment for hypothermia.  Efforts to save his life were unsuccessful, however, and Tompkins died later that day.

Six people in all capsized, two others suffered severe hypothermia, according to La Nacion.

North Face posted the following message on social media Wednesday, “We are all deeply saddened by the news of Doug Tompkins’ passing.  Doug was special to many of us. He will be missed.”

Tompkins founded the beloved company in 1966 as a small mail order outfit supplying gear for skiing and backpacking.  He ran the business out of San Francisco’s North Beat neighborhood.

He will be remembered as dedicated conservationist who spent his life exploring the outdoors.