Christopher Cooper, co-founder of the long-running Portland independent record label Cavity Search, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 52 years old.

"The Portland music community has lost an irreplaceable figure," his business partner, Denny Swofford, said in a statement.

Born in Connecticut, Cooper attended art school in New York before moving to Portland in the early '90s. He and Swofford became acquainted with each other while attending shows around the city, bonding over their eclectic taste and exaltation of Bob Dylan as "the top of all things music," according to Swofford.

Together, Cooper and Swofford, formed Cavity Search in 1992, initially as a means of helping their favorite local bands who didn't have record deals. The label went on to issue records from many of the most prominent Portland bands of the era, beginning with the first seven-inch from future Sub Pop signees Hazel. Most significantly, the label released Elliott Smith's first solo album, Roman Candle, in 1994.

Helio Sequence, King Black Acid and Richmond Fontaine, as well as Seattle jazz experimentalist Wayne Horvitz, also worked with Cavity Search.

Though he had not been involved with the label's day-to-day operations in several years, Swofford says he and Cooper remained "partners for life."

"He naturally seemed to be everything you needed," Swofford said, "husband, father, son, brother, artist, storyteller and the dearest of friend if you were fortunate enough to know him."