CEO Charlie Bell died Sunday of colorectal cancer in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. Bell, who was diagnosed with cancer last May, was 44 years old.
Bell had resigned last November to focus on his cancer treatment. Jim Skinner was named to replace him. Bell was elected McDonald's president and chief executive officer last April, after his predecessor Jim Cantalupo, who oversaw a major turnaround at the hamburger chain, died of a heart attack.
"This is a tragic loss," the company said in a statement. "Charlie Bell gave his all to McDonald's. Even during his hospitalization and chemotherapy, Charlie led this company with pride and determination. Now he leaves a remarkable legacy - a legacy that the McDonald's system will benefit from for years to come. "
Bell began his career with the company at age 15 as a part-time employee at the Kingsford restaurant in Sydney, Australia.