WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) — People around the country are shaken today by the deaths of a well-known Minnesota entrepreneur and his wife. Friends say Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs were found dead in their Orono home, lying in their bed.
The Orono Police Department said that it was a contained situation, and they are not looking for any suspects.
Irwin Jacobs was known for buying failing companies and turning them around for a profit.
A talented painter and sculptor, Alexandra Jacobs was not only a generous donor to the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, but a familiar face. A work space in the Center’s stone carving area is still marked with her name.
“It’s a tragedy when its someone that you don’t know but when it hits this close to home … I think we are all having a really difficult time just processing,” said Executive Director Roxanne Heaton.
Their family’s contribution more than a decade ago helped make the building of the Center’s new home in Wayzata possible.
“I think it was extremely important for both of them to give back and, obviously, they had the ability to do that,” said Heaton.
Heaton is still trying to wrap her head around the couple’s sudden deaths.
“They obviously made a big difference in the life of the non-profits in the Twin Cities, it’s a huge loss.”
It’s not only a loss for the Art Center, but the Special Olympics too. Irwin served as the chairman of the World Summer Games when it was hosted in Minnesota in 1991.
The nonprofit gave WCCO-TV the following statement:
Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic news of Irwin & Alexandra Jacobs and our hearts and prayers go out to the Jacobs family and friends. Irwin Jacobs was a historic figure in the Special Olympics movement as he served as the chairman of the Special Olympics World Summer Games when it was hosted in Minnesota in 1991. Jacobs rallied the support of business leaders in the Twin Cities to make this event a huge success and the largest sporting event in the world in 1991. This event turned the world spotlight onto the Special Olympics movement and created a new trajectory for the quality of our competitions.
The Jacobs family released a statement on Wednesday night saying they are shocked, devastated and heartbroken by the loss their parents.
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Watch the press conference from Orono police Wednesday afternoon: