Former Minnesota Vikings part-owner Irwin Jacobs and his wife Alexandra were found dead on Wednesday in what police called an apparent murder-suicide, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. They were both 77 years old.
The bodies of Jacobs, a former CEO of the now-defunct boat manufacturer Genmar Holdings, and his wife were found in their Lake Minnetonka home, a close friend and business associate told the paper. Officers arrived at the residence just after 8:30 a.m. and discovered the two in bed along with a gun, said Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok.
The couple's five children said in a statement, "We are heartbroken by this loss, and we ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time."
Dennis Mathisen, one of Jacobs' longtime business associates, claims that one of the couple's sons, Mark, told him that Jacobs shot his wife before turning the gun on himself. Alexandra had reportedly been wheelchair-bound for the past year and showed signs of dementia.
"Irwin was just distraught over her condition," Mathisen said.
Jacobs was once a minority owner of the Vikings in the 1980s. He, along with financier and former Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad, sold their shares in 1991 following a dispute between the two and a group of shareholders who were aligned with then-Vikings executive vice president Mike Lynn, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to overseeing Genmar, Jacobs made most of his money by investing in little-known companies and liquidating them at a huge profit, the Star Tribune reported. At the time of his death, he owned household products manufacturer J.R. Watkins Co. and retailer Jacobs Trading Co. He also once owned the Grain Belt beer company, which he later sold to another brewing company. At one point, the businessman claimed he had a fortune of over $200 million.
Mathisen told the Star Tribune that he had spoken to Jacobs three days before police discovered his and his wife's bodies.
"He was upbeat," Mathisen said. "I talked with his son Mark yesterday. He said Irwin seemed up."
Alexandra Jacobs was an artist and active member of the PACER Center and Courage Center, which assists people with disabilities. During the 1980s and 1990s, she held several exhibitions of her watercolor and oil paintings at local galleries. Much of her artwork was donated to PACER for the organization's annual benefit auction, PACER's executive director Paula Goldberg told the Star Tribune.
"I'll remember her smile, her kindness and her humility," Goldberg said. "She gave of herself."