Wang Jian | HNA Group | AP

HNA Cochairman Wang Jian Dies

Group cofounder engineered multibillion-dollar growth

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HNA Group cofounder and cochairman Wang Jian, 57, died suddenly on Tuesday after an accidental fall from a wall while posing for a photograph during a business trip in Provence, France.

Wang held a 15% share in the group, which is controlled by New York-based Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation. Wang is lauded as the spearhead for $50 billion in acquisitions, many of which were high profile. Some of those deals include a stake in Deutsche Bank AG, Carlson Rezidor, Hilton and NH Hotels. However, in recent months, HNA announced its intent to sell off holdings in several companies—including NH Hotels and a $6.5-billion stake in Hilton—in order to reduce debt.

“HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr. Wang’s family and many friends. Together, we mourn the loss of an exceptionally gifted leader and role model, whose vision and values will continue to be a beacon for all who had the good fortune to know him, as well as for the many others whose lives he touched through his work and philanthropy,” reads a statement from HNA Group.

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