Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, 62, dies after 2019 pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, who led the hotel chain through a major expansion and then guided the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, died Monday. He was 62.

The world’s largest hotel chain said Sorenson died “unexpectedly” after his pancreatic cancer worsened in recent weeks. His diagnosis had been announced in May 2019, and Marriott said two weeks ago that he would “temporarily reduce his schedule” to deal with heightened treatment.

Sorenson, who led Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016, was only the company’s third CEO and was its first who didn’t have the last name Marriott.

“Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being,” Marriott executive chairman J.W. Marriott Jr., said in a statement. “Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world.”

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The company said two executives who had been appointed in early February to share oversight of day-to-day operations, Stephanie Linnartz and Tony Capuano,  would retain those duties until the board appoints a permanent CEO. That’s expected to happen within two weeks.

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