Micron Technology Inc Chief Executive and Chairman Steve Appleton died in a small plane crash on Friday, a major loss for the struggling memory chipmaker.
Appleton, who used to perform stunts at airshows, died after the small plane he was piloting crashed at an airport in Boise, Idaho.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Appleton, Micron Chairman and CEO, passed away this morning in a small plane accident in Boise. He was 51.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Dalynn, his children and his family during this tragic time.
Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large," Micron's Board Of Directords said in a statement.
President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Durcan will take up the CEO's responsibilities until the company's board can appoint a permanent successor. Mr. Durcan will also serve as a Director on Micron's Board of Directors.
Micron competes against Asian rivals Hynix Semiconductor, Samsung and Toshiba. Memory chip makers are struggling as falling prices and huge investments to stay competitive saddle them with massive losses.
The loss of Micron's dealmaker could have an affect on a possible acquisition of troubled Japanese rival Elpida Memory.