Tributes pour in after former FCA chief Marchionne dies

Former Ferrari chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne has died at the age of 66.

EXOR NV, the holding company of Fiat's founding Agnelli family, confirmed the news in a brief statement. Today, Elkann said, "Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass".

Marchionne has done what many thought impossible, most notably his huge gamble just over a decade ago when he set in motion the marriage between the then-ailing Fiat with bankrupt U.S. rival Chrysler.

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Marchionne suffered an embolism while undergoing an operation for an invasive shoulder sarcoma and suffered irreversible damage to his brain function, an Italian business website reported Tuesday.

Fiat pushed that change on Chrysler - and everyone benefited, he said.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, whom Marchionne tried unsuccessfully to persuade to enter into a merger, sent condolences to his family, friends and Fiat Chrysler colleagues and praised his "remarkable legacy in the automotive industry". He was due to step down at Fiat Chrysler in April 2019.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined to comment, citing privacy issues.

Under Marchionne - who replaced Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal - Ferrari has also seen a strong increase in performance since 2014, winning multiple races and challenging for the championship in the current campaign.

The family's heir and company chairman Elkann, hired Marchionne at a time when Fiat had faced several years of significant losses. And many of us have lost a very dear friend: "Sergio Marchionne".

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A chartered accountant and attorney with dual Canadian and Italian citizenship, Marchionne began his career in Canada at Deloitte & Touche, then moved on to packaging producer Lawson Group. At the time, the company had been on the brink of bankruptcy. Marchionne is survived by his sons Alessio and Tyler, and his longtime partner Manuella Battezzato. Marchionne's last public appearance was on June 26 where those on hand noted he seemed breathless and not in the best state.

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