OLATHE — Gary Burrell, who co-founded GPS device-maker Garmin and helped grow the startup into a global operation, has died. He was 81.

Garmin spokeswoman Krista Klaus says he died Wednesday at his home in southern Johnson County from "complications relating to longstanding health issues."

He used his background working at marine and aviation electronics companies when he started Garmin in 1989 with fellow engineer Min Kao. The Olathe, Kansas-based company now has more than 13,000 employees in 60 offices around the world. It recorded earnings of $3.3 billion last year.

Burrell retired in 2002 and continued to serve as Garmin's co-chairman until 2004 when he was named chairman emeritus. Kao said in a news release that it was a "great privilege and a blessing to have known this amazing man."