NEW YORK (AP) — Charles P. Lazarus, the World War II veteran who founded Toys R Us, has died at age 94, a week after the iconic chain he started six decades ago announced it will shut down its stores across the U.S.

Toys R Us confirmed Lazarus’ death in a statement Thursday.

The statement said, “there have been many sad moments for Toys R Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus.”

Lazarus first opened a baby furniture store in Washington, D.C., in 1948 and opened the first store dedicated only to toys in 1957.

He stepped down as CEO of Toys R Us in 1994.