The following is a statement released by John Elkann, the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its holding company EXOR NV:
"Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone.
"I believe that the best way to honor his memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop the human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent champion.
"My family and I will be forever grateful for what he has done. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler.
"I would ask again everyone to respect the privacy of Sergio's family."
"The so-called "inevitable" just seems unavoidable." We lost Marchionne this morning at a hospital in Zurich. He was 66 years old.
His passing has more impact on this particular work. If he and Elkann did not rescue Chrysler in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis, this would be a non-story. What happened afterward was transformational for both the Fiat and Chrysler side of the house.
My heart goes out to Marchionne's family, my friends and contacts at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, including those whom I had that privilege to work with that are still with the company or have moved on elsewhere, and the many Moparian readers and friends whom I met along the way.
Godspeed, Sr. Marchionne. Thank you for your leadership and courage at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Your legacy is in good hands with Elkann, Manley, and the teams in Turin and Auburn Hills.
UPDATE: The following statements were made by FCA's industry friends in the light of Marchionne's passing…
"Sergio Marchionne was one of the most respected leaders in the industry whose creativity and bold determination helped to restore Chrysler to financial health and grow Fiat Chrysler into a profitable global automaker. His extraordinary leadership, candor and passion for the industry will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time." – Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company
"We at General Motors offer our condolences to Sergio Marchionne's family and friends. Sergio created a remarkable legacy in the automotive industry. Our thoughts are also with our industry colleagues at Fiat Chrysler as they deal with this sudden loss." – Mary Barra, board chair and CEO, General Motors
Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles