Teva pharmaceuticals former CEO Eli Hurvitz died of cancer at the age of 79 Monday night at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.RELATED:Teva to set up Israeli drug development VC fund Teva to power factory with natural gas
Having served as the company's CEO and chairman, Hurvitz retired for medical reasons in 2009.
President Shimon Peres, who heard of Hurvitz's death while on route to Vietnam, said "his loss is a personal loss to me and an even greater loss to the State of Israel." He went on to call Hurvitz a "unique human being" and an unpretentious, modest individual, who through Teva had contributed to the saving of millions of lives.
After learning of his death, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said of
Hurvitz: "He was among the great manufacturers to arise in the state of
"There was no better ambassador for Israeli entrepreneurship and spirit," Netanyahu concluded.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz added that Hurvitz turned a small company into a global giant, calling him a visionary in every sense of the word.
Hurvitz won the Israel Prize in 2002 for his contributions to the state.
Teva is the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world, and the 15th largest company listed on the NASDAQ.