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Lee Iacocca, Auto Industry Icon, Is Gone at Age 94

He saved Chrysler, helped create the Ford mustang — and was appointed by Ronald Reagan to restore the Statue of Liberty

He was an auto industry legend like few others.

Pennsylvania-born Lee Iacocca, once one of this country’s top business executives — and a man credited with rescuing Chrysler from near-bankruptcy in the 1980s — passed away on Tuesday, his youngest daughter confirmed and multiple outlets are reporting on Tuesday evening.

He was 94.

The cause was complications from Parkinson’s Disease, according to The Washington Post.

Iacocca was instrumental in creating both the Ford Mustang and the Chrysler Minivan.

Iacocca is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren, Fox 8 Cleveland noted.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 15, 1924, Iacocca began his career at Ford Motor Company in 1946 — and was a major figure in the development of the Ford Mustang, the first car of its kind.

In 1970 he was named president of Ford — but just eight short years later, Henry Ford Jr. canned him.

“I began my life as the son of immigrants, and I worked my way up to the presidency of the Ford Motor Company,” Iacocca detailed in his 1984 autobiography.

“When I finally got there, I was on top of the world. But then fate said to me: ‘Wait. We’re not finished with you. Now you’re going to find out what it feels like to get kicked off Mt. Everest!’”

Chrysler Corporation then hired him in 1978 — and one year later, he was appointed CEO. He is credited with rescuing the company from bankruptcy and convinced Congress to approve a bailout to help achieve that.

In the 1980s President Ronald Reagan appointed Iacocca as chair of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission — which raised money to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992 — but he and the company weren’t done with each other. In the mid 1990s each filed suit against the other — suits they later settled in 1996.

He was a graduate of Princeton University.

Some of his best-known quotes are the following:

  • “Management is nothing more than motivating other people.”
  • “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
  • “The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.”

This article has been updated.