Arne Sorenson’s Cause of Death: How Did the Marriott CEO Die?

Marriott Arne Sorenson

Arne Sorenson, the president and CEO of the Marriott International hotel chain, died “unexpectedly” on February 16, 2021, the company announced in a news release.

What was his cause of death? Pancreatic cancer.

“It is with profound sadness that Marriott International announces that Arne M. Sorenson, President and CEO, unexpectedly passed away on February 15, 2021,” the company wrote in the news release.

“In May 2019, the company announced that Mr. Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On February 2, 2021, Marriott shared the news that Mr. Sorenson would temporarily reduce his schedule to facilitate more demanding treatment for pancreatic cancer.”

In May, the company revealed, “Arne Sorenson was diagnosed on Wednesday with stage 2 pancreatic cancer. Sorenson, 60, received the diagnosis from a medical team at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after a series of tests. Sorenson will remain in his role while undergoing treatment.”

At that time, Sorenson sounded optimistic, saying, “The cancer was discovered early. It does not appear to have spread and the medical team – and I – are confident that we can realistically aim for a complete cure. In the meantime, I intend to continue working at the company I love. Let me make one request, look ahead with me. We have great work underway at Marriott. I am as excited by what we can accomplish together as I have ever been.”

Here’s what you need to know:


Sorenson Was the Third CEO in Marriott’s History, the Company Says

Getty Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, March 7, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Sorenson was the first Marriott CEO to not have the last name Marriott.

“Mr. Sorenson became the third CEO in Marriott’s history in 2012, and the first without the Marriott surname. A visionary leader, Mr. Sorenson put the company on a strong growth trajectory that included the $13-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts,” the company wrote.

“During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Sorenson was tireless in driving the company’s progress, creating opportunities for associates, growth for owners and franchisees and results for the company’s shareholders. Known for his leadership on difficult national and global issues, Mr. Sorenson steered Marriott to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.”

He gave bio information to Hotelier Magazine. “I am the son of a Lutheran preacher. Both my grandfathers were Lutheran preachers. My father-in-law is a Lutheran preacher,” he said. “While I majored in religion, I didn’t get that call. I went to law school instead. I practiced law for a dozen years with a big firm in Washington and represented Marriott when Host and Marriott were separating from each other.”


Sorenson Was Remembered as an ‘Exceptional Human Being’

GettyArne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, appears at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, March 7, 2019 in Washington, DC.

The chairman of the board remembered Sorenson as an “exceptional human being.”

“Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, in the company news release.

“Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth. But the roles he relished the most were as husband, father, brother and friend. On behalf of the Board and Marriott’s hundreds of thousands of associates around the world, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Arne’s wife and four children. We share your heartbreak, and we will miss Arne deeply.”

The release explained that “two veteran Marriott executives, Stephanie Linnartz, Group President, Consumer Operations, Technology and Emerging Businesses, and Tony Capuano, Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services,” were chosen “to share responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s business units and corporate functions, in addition to maintaining their current responsibilities. Ms. Linnartz and Mr. Capuano will continue in this capacity until the Marriott Board appoints a new CEO, which is expected to be within the next two weeks.”

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