The billionaire co-founder of top data storage equipment firm EMC Corp (EMC.N), Richard Egan, died on Friday, a spokesman for the company said in an emailed statement.

Egan, the E, behind the EMC name, co-founded the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based company 30 years ago with Roger Marino, according to the company's web site.

Listed in Forbes' 2009 list of the world's billionaires with net worth of $1 billion, Egan led the management team that took EMC company public in 1986 and was elected chairman of the board in 1998. He also held the position of president and CEO until 1992, EMC's web site said.

Egan stepped down from the role of chairman in 2001 and retired from the board that year, when he took on the role of U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, a position he held until 2003 according to details published on the American Ambassadors web site.

Dick's vision became one of the world's top technology companies, and his legacy will live on through the tens of thousands of lives he affected in so many positive ways, Joe Tucci, EMC Chairman, President and CEO, said in a statement. We have all lost a great mentor and friend.

The Boston Herald reported on its web site that Egan was battling terminal cancer and died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, citing police and other sources. A spokesman for EMC declined comment beyond the statement.

Egan grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University and then studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the American Ambassadors web site. Prior to forming EMC he worked at technology companies including Intel Corp (INTC.O), the website said.