SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Wilbert L. Gore, founder of the company that manufactures the waterproof fabric Gore-Tex, died of an apparent heart attack while backpacking. He was 74.

Gore, an avid backpacker and skier, died Saturday while hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Gore had said the Wind River area was his favorite spot to hike, and the Gore family had taken trips to the range every year since 1953.

Gore, of Newark, Del., started W.L. Gore & Associates in the basement of his home in 1957, making electric wire insulation from a polymer commonly known as Teflon. The company is best known for Gore-Tex, which is widely used in sporting goods and camping equipment.

W.L. Gore Associates logged sales of more than $300 million last year and has plants in the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, West Germany, France and India.

Gore was born in Meridian, Idaho, and began his business career in 1936.

He worked for Remington Arms Co. in Ilion, N.Y., in 1941 and was a research supervisor and head of operations research for E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co. from 1945 until founding W.L. Gore & Associates.

The company has attracted international attention for its management structure void of the hierarchy found in traditional corporations.

There are no titles and bosses within the corporate structure, and the company emphasizes freedom, commitment and creativity. The privately held company is 90 percent owned by its employees.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Genevieve Walton of Salt Lake City. Funeral arrangements are pending.