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By Associated Press

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 United States.

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

President George H.W. Bush speaks with Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus at the chain's store in Kashihara, Japan, in , from right, on January 1992.AP file

"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," the statement read.

Lazarus first opened a baby furniture store in Washington in 1948 and opened his first store dedicated only to toys in 1957.

He stepped down as chief executive in 1994.