The world is mourning the loss of Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Oakland-based health giant Kaiser Permanente. Tyson died Sunday in his sleep. He was 60.
Tyson rose to prominence at Kaiser during a career that spanned over 34 years, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. He rose from intern to the company’s top executive through his hard work and business savvy.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that Bernard J. Tyson … unexpectedly passed away early today,” the company said in a statement. “He was an outstanding leader, visionary and champion for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”
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The healthcare non-profit flourished under his leadership, adding more than $3.4 million in revenue and 41,000 additional employees during his six-year tenure as CEO, reported The Sacramento Bee.
Befor becoming chairman and CEO, Tyson worked in a variety of roles at Kaiser ranging from hospital administrator to chief operating officer. Those who knew him said Tyson’s compassion for others was just as potent as his business sense.
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“Bernard was an exceptional colleague, a passionate leader, and an honorable man. We will greatly miss him,” Kaiser board member Edward Pei said in a prepared statement.
“To say that Bernard Tyson was good-natured, which surely he was, would miss the point, however. His nature, simply put, was good—and he felt an obligation to be candid about where the world felt short in that respect,” said Clifton Lea, Fortune’s editor- in-chief.
In 2014, that compassion was on full display when Tyson was “compelled” to write an op-ed that went viral about Black men being killed by police. In it he noted despite being the CEO of a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate, he still shared “the commonality of the black male experience that remains consistent no matter what the economic status or job title.”
Last year, Tyson told Fortune he was an advocate about social issues because “ … the social determinants of health – many of the other categories that we haven’t really addressed concretely – impact a person’s health much more than medical care.”
He is survived by his wife Denise Bradley-Tyson and their three sons, Bernard J. Tyson Jr., Alexander and Charles.