Del Hayes, one of Nike’s first employees, has passed away at the age of 82.

Hayes met Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder and board chairman, when both worked as CPAs for Price Waterhouse in Portland and was at one time his boss. Hayes later joined Nike in its earliest stages, eventually becoming one of its board members.

Knight praised Hayes in his recent autobiography, “Shoe Dog,” “Day after day I watched Hayes do something I never thought possible: He made accounting an art.”

In a statement released by Nike, Knight said, “He was married for over fifty years to the same woman, the wonderful Sandi, and had three beautiful children. He was my friend for 54 years, and my heart is heavy.”