TYLER (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — James Cavender, the founder of the Cavender’s western wear retail chain, has died in East Texas.

Company Chief Financial Officer Jim Thompson says Cavender died Tuesday at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. He was 87.

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James R. Cavender

(credit: Cavender’s)

Thompson said Wednesday that Cavender, over the past few years, had health issues that left him hospitalized at various times. Thompson did not elaborate.

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On the company Facebook page Cavender was described as, “… a pioneer, a businessman, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, and a fighter. But most of all, he was family, even to those he barely knew.”

The company was founded in 1965 in Pittsburg, Texas, where Cavender still lived with his wife, Pat. Thompson says Cavender about 20 years ago turned over day-to-day business operations to his three sons… but friends say they don’t make boots big enough to fill James Cavender’s place.

The company, now based in Tyler, operates more than 80 stores in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Nebraska.

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(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)