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Founder of popular lakeside restaurant chain Zorbaz dies at 70

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The founder of Zorbaz, a popular chain of Minnesota lakeside restaurants, has died at age 70.

Tom Hanson, a former teacher, opened his first Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes in 1969 when he purchased a failed candy store on Detroit Lake, KFGO says, eventually expanding the chain to 11 locations across Minnesota, Zorbaz website notes.

Hanson, who wasn't a smoker, died Friday after being diagnosed with throat cancer nine years ago, DL-Online reports.

He was known for being a teacher, a man who rewarded hard work and company loyalty, and giving back to the community – helping Detroit Lakes become the destination it is today, those who knew him told DL-Online.

"He never let a day go by where he did not take advantage of his waking hours. ... Tom's passion was family, travel, golf and an occasional wager," Hanson's longtime friend and business associate Mike Gunderson told the website.

A celebration of life is planned for Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Detroit Country Club in Detroit Lakes, Valley News Live reports.

Many have taken to Twitter to share their condolences:

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