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Businessman Irwin Jacobs, Wife Found Dead In Suspected Murder-Suicide

Updated 2:40 p.m.

Entrepreneur Irwin L. Jacobs and his wife Alexandra were found dead in their mansion in suburban Minneapolis, according to local reports. A friend of the family said that Irwin Jacobs killed his wife before shooting himself.

Police arrived early Wednesday morning to investigate the deaths in Jacobs’ home in the upscale suburb of Orono. A police dispatcher reported that two people were “found unconscious, possibly DOA [dead on arrival],” and were in a bed with a handgun on the bed as well, the Star Tribune reported. A spokesman for the local sheriff’s office said that there was no suspect being sought and no risk to the public.

Dennis Mathieson, a longtime business partner of Irwin Jacobs, told the Star Tribune that he learned of Jacobs’ responsibility for the incident from a phone call with Irwin Jacobs’ son Mark and secretary.

Alexandra Jacobs “had been in a wheelchair for the last year or so and had signs of dementia. Irwin was just distraught over her condition,” Mathieson said, adding that he had spoken with Irwin Jacobs around three days ago and “he was upbeat. I talked with his son Mark yesterday, and he talked to both of them. He said Irwin seemed up.”

Jacobs, 77, was a corporate raider who specialized in turning around or liquidating struggling companies, known as “Irv the Liquidator.” His business holdings included companies that sold beer, boats and soap. Jacobs is listed in the Jewish Virtual Library’s entry on prominent Jewish businessmen. Alexandra was a local artist. The couple’s daughter Sheila has cerebral palsy, and the Jacobses were major supporters of organizations like the Special Olympics, for which he once served as chairman after donating $8 million in 1991.

Jacobs listed the 32-acre property in 2014 for $22 million before later taking it off the market. He told the Star Tribune at the time he was contemplating the sale that he expected to die in that house, where he had lived for 42 years. “There’s too much property, and the kids are concerned,” Jacobs said. “I really thought I’d die here — but I didn’t want to burden my wife if something happened to me.”

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor for the Forward. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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