Cemex patriarch Lorenzo Zambrano dies at 70

Lorenzo Zambrano

Cemex CEO Lorenzo Zambrano, who is credited with turning his family's business into Mexico's first sprawling multinational company, has died unexpectedly at age 70.

Zambrano was on a business trip in Madrid and was said to have died of natural causes on Monday, according to multiple media reports.

Zambrano is famous for his role in globalizing the company and putting Mexico on the map as a competitive force, drawing both admirers of his ambition and critics of his competition-squashing tactics.

The sudden nature of his death raises questions of succession at Cemex, where he held less than 1% of the company's shares and had no clear successor in line.

Cemex was originally founded by Zambrano's grandfather in 1906 in Monterrey, Mexico. Zambrano, who was born many years later in 1944, would eventually join the family business in 1968, only to become the cheif executive in 1985 and chairman 10 years later.

Zambrano is survived by his sister, Nina, and two brothers, Jorge and Hernán. He was unmarried and had no children.

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