PALO ALTO, Calif., - William R. Hewlett, co-founder and former president of Hewlett-Packard Company, and one of the United States' foremost business leaders, technologists and philanthropists, died at home in his sleep at 8 a.m. PST today of natural causes. He was 87 years old.
"Our hearts go out to the families, as we join them in mourning the loss of a great and gentle man," said Carly Fiorina, HP chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We, as stewards of his legacy, will cherish and nurture Bill's bright spirit of invention, remembering and celebrating the rich heritage that he and Dave entrusted us with."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Hewlett, who retired from active management of HP in 1978, made important contributions throughout his career in technology, science and business. Together with David Packard, who died March 26, 1996, he founded Hewlett-Packard Company here in a one-car garage in 1939. Their original company now consists of two multinational enterprises: Hewlett-Packard Company, with total revenue from continuing operations of $48.8 billion in fiscal year 2000 and more than 88,500 employees, and Agilent Technologies, Inc., with net revenues of more than $10.8 billion in fiscal year 2000 and more than 47,000 employees. The legendary garage -- designated the birthplace of Silicon Valley -- is a California state historical landmark.
While Hewlett is perhaps best remembered for his scientific expertise and Packard for his business acumen, either could have stepped into the other's shoes at HP, and often did. Their lifelong partnership was remarkable as much for the personal friendship they shared for more than 60 years as it was for their business success and their innovative approach to running a company.
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