MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The founder and chairman of Olson ad agency, John Olson, died on Saturday after a 13-month battle with cancer.

According to the agency’s website, John Olson started the Olson ad agency, Minnesota’s largest advertising firm, in 1992. The firm is now nationally renowned and employs more than 450 people across six cities in North America.

Kevin DiLorenzo, a long-time friend of Olson, says he lived such a big life that he didn’t even let his cancer diagnosis slow him down.

“So much of the disease was masked for so long, because he’s a guy that lives life to the fullest. And he was living life to the fullest and I don’t think he ever gave into the idea this was going to get him. And so these last few weeks when that realization came to be it was tough,” DiLorenzo said.

Olson also started a not for profit called the Brand Lab, to teach inner-city youth about job opportunities in the creative sector.

Olson was 56.


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