Famed Makeup Entrepreneur AJ Crimson Dies: 'There Are No Words,' His Family Says

"We as a family are heartbroken and devastated by his passing," AJ Crimson's family tells PEOPLE

AJ Crimson
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty

AJ Crimson, the famed entrepreneur and self-taught celebrity makeup artist known for pioneering inclusion in the beauty industry, died on Wednesday, March 30.

A representative for the CEO of AJ Crimson Beauty confirmed his death in a statement to PEOPLE on Thursday.

"Our entire team mourns this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with AJ's family," the representative said. "Our deepest sympathies go out to them. We absolutely loved AJ, truly one of the sweetest, most humble people we have ever had the pleasure of working with. We are all devastated."

His family also mourned the loss in an emotional statement to PEOPLE.

"AJ Crimson was a makeup industry leader that set a standard of beauty that was elevated, beautiful, and accessible to people of all color," the statement read. "We as a family are heartbroken and devastated by his passing, but thankful for the lessons that he laid on each of us with his truth, directness, and leadership."

"We thank you all for your kind words, tweets, and posts, as AJ was an inspiration to us as much as he was a bright light to the rest of the world," the family said. "There are no words that can sum up his whole. Until we meet again!"

A cause of death was not revealed for Crimson.

Crimson founded AJ Crimson Beauty in 2013, billing it according to his website as "a line of luxury cosmetic creations that speak directly to women of color."

"My vision for AJ Crimson Beauty was luxury cosmetics with Black women in mind first. As a makeup artist, my entire career I gravitated to luxury products for my clientele," he told Hello Beautiful in October 2020. "Yet there weren't always products at that level that worked with some of my more melanin rich clients. I thought it was a shame only drug store options [were] available, so I knew I had to change that."

He started with lipstick and glosses before growing the beloved brand into a full range of products, many of which are carried and sold in national retailers. And he grew the brand from 8 shades of "highly pigmented, accurate and rich shades" to 12 core foundations shades and 32 lip shades in various formulations, plus and 2 signature powders.

The Michigan native wanted people to use makeup to enhance their natural beauty. "See, it's your essence and natural beauty that makes the makeup pop — not the other way around," he shared on his website. "It's your confidence and high-caliber presence that commands attention — and the makeup simply accentuates that."

Celebrity clients included Fergie, Hilary Duff, Adrienne Bailon, Christina Milian, Brandy, Estelle, Regina King, Amerie, LeToya Luckett, Keyshia Cole, Missy Elliott, Angela Bassett, Raven-Symoné.

Many of those famous voices paid tribute to him on social media Thursday like Legendary judge Amiyah Scott, who remembered his kind demeanor in a social media post. "AJ Crimson was so sweet every time we've crossed paths," she tweeted on Wednesday. "And I'm so sad to hear of his passing RIP."

Actress Gabrielle Dennis shared that she hoped "it wasn't real" after receiving a call about Crimson's death. "I'm still stunned. Life is fragile," she tweeted. "AJ Crimson was such a special, bright, warm, and talented human being whose light and love will be missed by many. You now have wings to go with your crown King #RIP #YouWillBeMissed"

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Run the World actress Bresha Webb shared her condolences on Instagram. "I have no words. I won't for a while. I'll love you forever AJ," she shared. "You had so many plans and was one of the most inspiring, sweetest, giving, multi talented, multi hyphenated people I've known. I'm blessed to have been apart of your journey and I will keep your legacy alive. And wow did you leave a legacy."

She continued, "Praying for your spirit to be lifted up to the heavens and that the angels usher you in with all of the harmony and sweetness that you shared on this earth. Praying for his family and everyone who loved him. 🙏🏾🕊🕊🕊"

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