Street wear designer Jonas Bevacqua, founder of the fast-growing Irvine-based hip-hop apparel company L-R-G, who was discovered dead at his Laguna Beach home in June, died of natural causes, the Orange County coroner said Friday.
The 34-year-old was suffering from acute broncho pneumonia and a heart infection, Supervising Deputy Coroner Larry Esslinger said.
Toxicology results showed no illegal drugs were present in his system, Esslinger said. Bevacqua had a clinical history of anxiety and insomnia and analysis showed the presence of prescription drugs associated with those conditions, he said.
Bevacqua, who as a teenager lived in a trailer at the former El Moro trailer park, worked as a dj and parking valet while getting Lifted Research Group off the ground in 1999. Entrepreneur magazine ranked the company number five among fast-growing companies and with sales of $150 million in 2006, soaring from $5 million in 2002.
Matt Sheridan, of Laguna Beach, met Bevacqua in a math class at LBHS at age 14, valet parked cars with him while Bevacqua was starting L-R-G, and was one of its first sales reps.
“His whole concept was to pay your rent with your passion,” said Sheridan.
Bevacqua donated time, money and clothing to those who needed it, including students at the San Juan Capistrano school where teaches.
“He blew stereotypes out of the water. He was adopted, and lived with brothers and sisters that were black, white, Asian,” said a childhood friend from Laguna Beach, Matt Sheridan, referring to the Bevacqua family of seven siblings, six of them adopted, including Jonas, as well as a biological son.
The company, which coined the tag line, “adopt children, not style,” made clothing appealing to skaters, surfers, artists and hip-hop fans.
“We make clothes that make you think and feel better than anyone else. At the end of the day it’s a business, but this is truly a labor of love. I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life,” said Bevacqua in a company promotional video.
The company expanded its brand with accessories like a Sidekick smartphone and portable speakers, as well as producing music and sponsoring board sports athletes.
His partners and co-founders Robert Wright and Charlie Moothart, said in a statement on the LRG website they intend to continue. Company officials failed to return phone calls on Friday.
He is survived by a son, Adyn, 5, and parents Joe and Helen, of Monarch Beach, six siblings and a fiancé, according to the L-R-G website.