Olujide Oluyeba of LUJ Luxury Cigars, known to many simply as “Luj” or “Double O,” passed away on March 20 after an extended illness.

Born in Nigeria, Oluyeba came to the United States for college, attending Northeastern Illinois University. In 2010, Oluyeba founded his eponymous cigar brand, growing a strong following in the Chicago area before reaching national and international distribution. He credits Tom Selleck and Joe Pantoliano for introducing him to premium cigars, as they introduced him to the lifestyle while he was working as doorman at the Swissotel in Chicago, according to the company’s biography.

In addition to making small-batch luxury cigars, Oluyeba also released lines of LUJ-branded coffee.

According to an article by Cigar Journal, the LUJ Luxury Cigars brand will continue, headed by Luj’s long-time friend Art Payne.

Update — The date of Oluyeba’s passing has been updated after receiving clarification from several sources. It had originally been reported as March 19.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.