Lawrence D. Ornitz, the president and chief executive officer of the beachwear manufacturing firm Ocean Pacific Sunwear Ltd. of Tustin, died Monday from complications after coronary bypass surgery.
Ornitz, credited by some with propelling beachwear into the international marketplace, was 53.
"It's a tremendous tragedy for the whole beachwear industry and that's all I can tell you," said Nat Norfleet, who owned his own beachwear company until Ornitz hired him as a designer a month ago.
A spokesman for Ocean Pacific said Monday night that Ornitz died shortly before noon at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.
Born in New York, Ornitz graduated from Penn State University and had his own beachwear manufacturing company in Colorado and later in California. He joined Ocean Pacific about four years ago.