Cano Aret Ozgener, founder of the CAO brand, died on June 9th, in Nashville Tennessee, at the age of 81, after a long battle with cancer.

CAO Cigars (whose name derives from the three initials of his creator), began his activity in 1994 and saw the full-time employment of his son Murat (Tim) and his daughter Aylin. CAO quickly became a world famous cigar brand and distributed in over 100 countries. CAO products have always stood out for their diversity in blends and tastes, maintaining excellence as a common denominator. The company was sold in 2007 to the ST Group (Scandinavian Tobacco).

Touching words by Jon A. Huber, co-founder of the Crowned Heads brand, were shared through social media: “The world of cigars has lost a pioneer and an innovator, but more importantly, the world has lost a father, an artist who gave much more than what he received. Cano Aret Ozgener was not only a man who gave me a chance, about 22 years ago, by introducing me to the premium cigar industry, but he was my mentor, my spiritual guru and my friend. Present in good times but above all in the dark ones, he always had words of wisdome to inspire me, but also to heal wounds. Cano was a gentle force, he taught me that the only limits in this life are those that we impose on ourselfs. His infamous mantra was “Make it Happen”, which opened the door to my life of creativity, hope and inspiration “.

Cano Aret Ozgener was a Turk of Armenian origins, born in Istanbul in 1937, he attended the French middle school Saint Joseph, then the Robert College of Istanbul, an engineering school. During his studies he learned three languages (French, English, German) in addition to the Turkish and Armenian languages he already spoke. He moved to New York in 1962 to attend Columbia University where he obtained a Masters in Science, in the same year, that followed by a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1964; at Columbia University he met Esen, his future bride. The couple spent four years in North Carolina, where Cano held the position of researcher for the DuPont chemical company; He was transferred to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1968. During the years, Cano served the community in many different ways, serving on the boards of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center and the Watkins College of Art.

Rest in Peace Mister CAO.

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