Sergio Marchionne's death came as just as much of a surprise to FCA as it did to the rest of the motoring world. According to an automaker spokesperson's statements to Reuters, the company didn't know anything about Marchionne's health "due to medical privacy."
“The company was made aware that Mr. Marchionne had undergone shoulder surgery and released a statement about this,” the spokesperson told Reuters. “On Friday, July 20, the Company was made aware with no detail by Mr. Marchionne’s family of the serious deterioration in Mr. Marchionne’s condition and that as a result, he would be unable to return to work. The Company promptly took and announced the appropriate action the following day.”
Doctors at University Hospital Zurich were treating Marchionne. Officials there said the auto exec was in their medical care for over a year. “Although all the options offered by cutting-edge medicine were utilized, Mr. Marchionne unfortunately passed away," hospital officials told Reuters.
Marchionne suffered from a sarcoma in his shoulder, and it was causing him pain. This type of cancer can affect bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, and vascular tissue.
During surgery on his shoulder, Marchionne suffered a cerebral embolism and fell into a coma. Afterward, he had severe brain damage and was on life support. Tragically, Marchionne succumbed to his injuries and died at just 66 years old.
FCA appointed Jeep boss Mike Manley to replace Marchionne. John Elkann became Ferrari's new chairman, and Louis Carey Camilleri took over Marchionne's duties at the Prancing Horse's CEO.
Marchionne was preparing to step down from his leadership role at FCA and intended to retire in 2019. The company had already been considering possible replacements for him.