Joseph Sanchez, newly named the first president of General Motors Corp.'s hi-tech Saturn Corp. subsidiary, succumbed to heart disease Saturday.
A spokeswoman for Lansing's Sparrow Hospital said Sanchez, 54, died Saturday evening following a series of heart attacks.
Sanchez, who was also a GM vice president, was general manager of GM's Oldsmobile Division before taking over the Saturn project.
The target of intense lobbying by a number of governors since GM announced plans for the Saturn plant, Sanchez was hospitalized after waking up with chest pains shortly after midnight last Wednesday.
"A shining star of American industry has fallen," Michigan Gov. James J. Blanchard said late Saturday.
"He had suffered an initial heart attack on Jan. 23," said spokeswoman Carol Schwing.
Sanchez had been listed in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing on Saturday following two heart attacks, said Schwing.
Sanchez had the first heart attack Wednesday morning and had been listed in guarded but stable condition in the hospital's cardiac care unit. He suffered his second cardiac arrest at 4:30 a.m. Friday.