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Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne dies at age 66

The CEO's death comes just days after he was replaced due to health complications following shoulder surgery

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne, the man who transformed Fiat Chrsyler, was CEO since 2004

Fiat Chrysler’s (NASDAQ: FCAU) chief executive Sergio Marchionne, who was heralded as the savior of two ailing automakers, has died at age 66.

Marchionne’s death stunned the business community and came just days after he was replaced as CEO of Fiat by MIke Manley following complications from surgery on his shoulder at a hospital in Zurich, Switzerland.

Fiat Chairman John Elkann said in a statement: “Sergio Marchionne, man and friend is gone. My family and I will be forever grateful for what he has done.”

Marchionne, an Italian-born Canadian, took the helm of the faltering Italian carmaker in June 2004.

The company was in dire straits when Marchionne took it on. It had lost $7 billion in 2003, but just two years later, the company was making a profit due to an alliance he forged with faltering company Chrysler in 2009.

He is widely credited as rescuing both Fiat and Chrsyler, which were on the brink of bankruptcy.

His death comes after Fiat Chrysler reported disappointing quarterly earnings on Wednesday, which lowered its forecast for the year due to poor sales in China.

US-listed shares of the UK-based company were down 14.3% to US$16.52 in morning trading on the NYSE.

--Updates share price--

Quick facts: Fiat Chrysler

Price: 14.63 USD

NASDAQ:FCAU
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $28.92 billion
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