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Jeff Brotman, who co-founded Costco with Jim Sinegal in 1983 and continued to serve as its chairman, has passed away at age 74. Reports say he died in his sleep at home in Medina, Washington; no cause of death has yet been determined.

The Seattle Times reports that Brotman's death came as a shock, and that on Monday night, "Mr. Brotman had attended a dinner for about 2,000 Costco warehouse managers from around the world who are gathered this week at the Washington State Convention Center."

The story notes that in addition to his work at Costco, Brotman was a philanthropist (donating to educational, medical and cultural institutions), active Democratic donor, and supporter of other entrepreneurs (he was an early investor in a little company called Starbucks).
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