(UPDATED COVERAGE, March 29) Edward Basha Jr., chairman of Phoenix-based Bashas’ Family of Stores, died March 26 at age 75.

The Bashas’ chain was founded in 1932 by Eddie Basha Sr. and his brother Ike Basha, and now includes more than 130 stores under the Bashas’ Bashas Dine, AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City banners.

Basha Jr. was active in Arizona politics, and once ran for governor of the state. He also was known for his philanthropy.

“We want to share with you just how much Eddie loved Bashas’, its members and its customers,” Edward Basha III said in a prepared statement. “From our earliest childhood, he always reinforced to us the importance of our members and giving back to our community. Some of his fondest times were being with Bashas’ members and customers, whether at the office, the distribution center or in the stores.

UPDATED: Bashas' Family of Stores chairman dies“To us, and to many of you, Eddie was always larger than life, and he gave his heart and soul to Bashas’ Family of Stores,” Basha III said in the statement. “Ironically, Eddie never saw himself that way. He considered himself to be a Bashas’ member, no different than any other, and he considered all Bashas’ members to be a part of his family.”

Basha III thanked employees and customers.

“It is our collective strength that has seen us through difficult days,” according to his statement. “This strength will continue to move us forward, even though we have suffered such a tragic loss.”

A memorial service is planned for April 6 at the Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University in Tempe. For information about a live webcast, visit after April 3.

In lieu of memorials, the family suggests contributions in Basha Jr.'s memory to charitable organizations.