Former Intel chief executive and the company's first formal employee Andy Grove has died this week, aged 79, following battles with prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease.

Born in Budapest as András Gróf in 1936, Grove fled his home country following the Nazi occupation and Soviet control. Reaching America, Grove studied chemical engineering at the City College of New York and completed his Ph.D at the University of California at Berkeley in 1963. His career in technology began with a research position under Gordon Moore at Fairchild Semiconductor, and when Moore left Fairchild with colleague Robert Noyce in 1968 to found Intel Grove would be their first hire.

It was Grove who lead Intel's move from producing memory chips to microprocessors, a major shift which would cement the company's position in the modern technological world. In 1979 Grove would become Intel's president, and in 1987 its chief executive officer. Under Grove's leadership, Intel launched some of its most iconic products - including the 386, 486, and Pentium architectures - and saw its revenue jump from $1.9 billion to over $26 billion annually.

'Andy approached corporate strategy and leadership in ways that continue to influence prominent thinkers and companies around the world,' said Intel chair Andy Bryant of Grove. 'He combined the analytic approach of a scientist with an ability to engage others in honest and deep conversation, which sustained Intel’s success over a period that saw the rise of the personal computer, the Internet and Silicon Valley.'

Post-Intel, Grove spent his retirement in a philanthropic role: the Grove School of Engineering was founded from a $26 million donation to the City College of New York where he had studied, and his contributions to cancer and Parkinson's research - both of which he suffered through - are well known.

'We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Intel chairman and CEO Andy Grove,' said current Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. 'Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders.'

Grove is survived by his wife of 58 years Eva, two daughters, and eight grandchildren.
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