How did Brian Goldner die? Hasbro CEO dies 2 days after going on medical leave

Goldner is credited with turning some of Hasbro's most beloved toy lines into major films, such as the 'Transformers' and 'G.I. Joe' series

                            How did Brian Goldner die? Hasbro CEO dies 2 days after going on medical leave
Brian Goldner served as CEO of Hasbro till October 10, 2021 (Hasbro via Businesswire)

Hasbro, the toymaking giant responsible for beloved games and toys like Monopoly, Nerf, and Play-Doh lost its CEO, Brian Goldner, on October 12. The company confirmed Goldner died just two days after going on medical leave, leaving Board of Directors independent director Rich Stoddart to take over as Interim CEO. Tributes have now poured in not just from Goldner's colleagues, but also the Governor on Rhode Island, where the company is based.

Hasbro isn't the only company to lose its visionary leadership this year. In March, Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor died by suicide after struggling with post-Covid symptoms. Before that, in February, Marriott International's CEO Arne Sorenson died from pancreatic cancer, which he battled for two years. In late August, the founder and CEO of A+E Networks, Nickolas Davatzes died from complications due to Parkinson's disease.


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During his tenure as CEO, Goldner is credited with turning some of Hasbro's most beloved toy lines into major films, such as the 'Transformers' and 'G.I. Joe' series. So how did this visionary leadership die? Here's everything we know about the 58-year-old businessman's death.

How did Brian Goldner die?

In its official press release, Hasbro did not detail what exactly happened to Goldner. "It is with deep and profound sadness that Hasbro announces the passing of beloved leader and longtime Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner," the company said. However, it appears his death is linked to his cancer battle, which he has been fighting for close to a decade. In 2014, he was diagnosed with cancer and has since been undergoing intermittent treatment.

Few details are available about his diagnosis, but we can confirm he was being treated as recently as 2020. However, seven years of treatment appeared to have little effect on cancer, forcing Goldner to step down and go on medical leave on October 10. In a short press release that day, the company said Goldner "is taking a medical leave of absence from his role as CEO, effective immediately." The announcement appeared to link Goldner's decision to his cancer battle. "After careful consideration, I have decided to take a medical leave to focus on my health," Goldner added to that statement.

Details about a funeral have not yet been made public. Goldner is survived by his wife Barbara, a social worker, and his daughter Brooke, an actress. In an ironic twist, Brooke has lent her voice to the 'My Little Pony' film on Netflix, as well as a 'Transformers' TV show back in 2017, both Hasbro properties. 



Goldner remembered as a 'bold thinker'

Tributes poured in very quickly for Goldner. Stoddart said, "Brian’s work brought joy and laughter to children and families around the world. His visionary leadership, kindness, and generosity made him beloved by the Hasbro community and everyone he touched." Governor Dan McKee of Rhode Island tweeted, "Brian Goldner was a bold thinker, an innovator, a remarkable CEO and someone who always stepped up for our community. He will be deeply missed by all. Our hearts go out to the Goldner family and the entire Hasbro team during this difficult time."



Rep. David Cicilline said, "Devastated by the passing of my good friend Brian Goldner, Hasbro Chairman & CEO. My heart goes out to his wife, Barbara and his entire family. Brian was a truly inspirational leader, not only in business but in all his civic pursuits. This is tremendous loss for our state." One user commented, "My thoughts and prayers are with the @Hasbro team on the sudden passing of longtime CEO Brian Goldner. Brian was best in class, a stellar human and will very much be missed."




Goldner joined Hasbro in 2000, and was made CEO in 2008. Since 2015, he has also served as the chairman of Hasbro's board. Under his watch, Hasbro has seen it's stock rise over 155%, as well as diversify into movies, TV shows, and gaming. In 2019, he also engineered Hasbro's acquisition of the Toronto-based Entertainment One, the studio responsible for 'Peppa Pig'. 

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