Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Steve Appleton, the chief executive officer of semiconductor-maker Micron Technology Inc., died after crashing an experimental plane in Boise, Idaho. He was 51.
Appleton was flying a private aircraft with a fixed wing and single engine, said Patty Miller, a spokeswoman for the Boise airport. Appleton, who was the only fatality, crashed between two runways at the airport, Miller said.
“Our hearts go out to his wife, Dalynn, his children and his family during this tragic time,” Boise, Idaho-based Micron said in the statement. “Steve’s passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large.”
Appleton was one of the longest-serving CEOs in the semiconductor industry. He was in the midst of a turnaround effort at Micron, pushing the company in to a broader range of products, including mobile-phone devices. The company is the only producer of computer-memory chips outside of Asia, even as rivals such as Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. abandoned that segment of the market to focus on other products.
Last year, Appleton was awarded the Semiconductor Industry Association’s Robert N. Noyce Award, named after one of the founders of Intel and the inventor of the integrated circuit.
A Los Angeles native, Appleton flew stunt planes as a hobby. In 2004, he nearly died in another crash. He also enjoyed other high-adrenaline activities, including triathlons, skydiving and motorcycle racing, BusinessWeek reported in the late 1990s.
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