Ed Gilligan, the President of American Express has died after becoming “seriously ill” on a flight from Japan to New York.

Gilligan, who has been with the company for 35 years, started as an intern and worked his way to the top.

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Ed Gilligan dies

“This is deeply painful and frankly unimaginable for all of us who had the great fortune to work with Ed, and benefit from his insights, leadership and enthusiasm,” Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, wrote in a memo to all employees. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Lisa, and their four children – Katie, Meaghan, Kevin and Shane. He was a proud husband and father, and his love for his family was evident in all that he did.” h/t mashable

American Express spokesperson, Marina Norville, said she had yet to hear “final word” on the illness that led to Gilligan’s death.

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