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Obituaries

Son of Philippine billionaire, Lucio Tan Jr. dies at 53

Tycoon's death prompts speculation over who will lead Philippine Airlines

Lucio Tan Jr, is dead at 53. "Bong was a son, husband, father, friend and, most importantly, our elder brother whom we all relied on for advice, counsel and leadership," his sister Vivienne said, using her brother's nickname.

MANILA -- Lucio Tan Jr., the son of the Philippines' sixth richest man Lucio C. Tan, and the president of Philippine Airlines parent PAL Holdings, died Monday at the age of 53.

Tan was rushed to hospital on Saturday after collapsing "during a basketball game," according to a company spokesperson.

"Bong was a son, husband, father, friend and, most importantly, our elder brother whom we all relied on for advice, counsel and leadership," his sister  Vivienne said in a statement, using her brother's nickname. "His untimely passing leaves a big void in our hearts and our group's management team which would be very hard to fill."

PAL Holdings shares had fallen 0.25% to 7.98 Philippine pesos ($0.16) in late afternoon trade.

Listed by Forbes as the Philippines' sixth richest man with a net worth of $3.6 billion, 85-year-old Lucio C. Tan appointed his son president of PAL Holdings on Oct. 28. The family's listed holding company, LT Group, is led by another of Lucio Tan's sons, Michael, and has a market capitalization of $2.8 billion.

Tan Jr.'s death follows a slew of leadership changes at the Philippine flag carrier this year that has confused some investors.

In June, long-time PAL Holdings president Jaime Bautista announced his retirement just weeks after being reappointed company president, thrusting Vivienne Tan into the role of officer-in-charge.

Later, the company announced that Lucio C. Tan Sr would become "interim president" of PAL Holdings, before outsourcing industry veteran Philippine businessman Gilbert Santa Maria was appointed president of the company in July.

Three months later Santa Maria was replaced by Lucio Tan Jr.  Santa Maria remains president of Philippine Airlines Inc., the operating company

Tan Jr. was also president of Tanduay Distillers, and sat on the board of LT Group subsidiaries including Philippine National Bank, Fortune Tobacco and Eton Properties.

Outside the boardroom, Tan Jr. was known as a basketball patron and head coach of the University of the East basketball team. The university is owned by the Tan family. Tan Jr often played basketball with workers in the companies he managed, one employee at the group said.

Tan Jr. is survived by his wife Julie, and sons Lucio Tan III and Kyle.

Tan's death follows the passing on Saturday of 93-year-old John Gokongwei, the Chinese-Filipino founder of JG Summit.

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