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Andy Grove, Intel co-founder and chip visionary, has died

A longtime leader of the chip company he helped make great, Grove was practically synonymous with the tech industry of the '80s and '90s.

Intel's Andy Grove was named Time's Man of the Year in 1997 as "the person most responsible for the amazing growth in the power and innovative potential of microchips."


Andy Grove, the Hungarian emigre who -- along with Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore -- founded Intel and created the microprocessor industry, died Monday at 79. The cause of death was not released.

Grove's name was practically synonymous with Silicon Valley of the 1980s and '90s. In 1997, he was named Time magazine's Man of the Year for his role in driving the "Digital Revolution."

Last year, venture capitalist Ben Horowitz called Grove "the man who built Silicon Valley" and described Grove as "the greatest CEO who ever lived."

Outside the Valley, people knew Grove for his sayings, including "Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure." The title of his 1996 bestseller, "Only the Paranoid Survive," became a mantra in the business community.

Grove also wrote about his childhood under both Nazi and Communist regimes. Famed VC Michael Moritz, of Sequoia Capital, describes it as a "masterpiece."

"From a life of breathtaking accomplishments there is one that will last as long as words are read," Moritz said in his tribute to Grove. "It is Andy's literary masterpiece, 'Swimming Across,' his wrenching account of growing up in mid-century Europe."

Grove's death was announced Monday by Intel.

"Andy made the impossible happen, time and again, and inspired generations of technologists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.

Many of industry's heaviest hitters, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and John Doerr immediately tweeted their tributes.

"Nothing I could say could capture what he meant to all of us. You just wanted to live up to his expectations -- and I didn't work at Intel!," said Carol Bartz, former CEO of Yahoo and Autodesk. "Thank you Andy for keeping it real and honest!"

"Andy Grove was not just a visionary in the technology industry, he was a legendary inventor," said John Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco Systems. "He also taught that great companies and great leaders understand the importance in dealing with challenges as equally as they do the opportunities."

Born in Budapest, Grove fled communist Hungary in 1956. He later studied chemical engineering at City College of New York and received his Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of California at Berkeley. He went to work at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he was teamed with Moore and Noyce.

Noyce and Moore left Fairchild to found Intel in 1968. Grove was their first hire. He became Intel's president in 1979 and its CEO in 1987.

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2000, Grove subsequently contributed at least $26 million toward research into the disease, according to Inside Philanthropy.

Grove, Intel said in its statement announcing his death, "played a critical role in the decision to move Intel's focus from memory chips to microprocessors and led the firm's transformation into a widely recognized consumer brand."

CNET's Connie Guglielmo contributed to this article.