Medtronics co-founder dies in Hawaii at age 94

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An electronics repairman who started one of the world's largest medical device companies in 1949 has died at age 94.

Medtronic said in a statement that co-founder Earl Bakken died Sunday at his home in Hawaii.

Bakken developed the first external battery-powered, transistorized heart pacemaker and commercialized the first implantable pacemaker in 1960. Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, grew Medtronic from a struggling operation in Bakken's Minneapolis garage to a multinational medical technology company.

Bakken received his own pacemaker in 2001 and had a second one fitted in 2009.

Medtronics has 86,000 employees worldwide. Its corporate headquarters are in Dublin, but the operational headquarters are in the Minneapolis area.

Medtronics chairman and CEO Omar Ishtak says the contributions Bakken made to the field of medical technology cannot be overstated.