O.B. Goolsby Jr., the president and CEO of US poultry giant of Pilgrim's Pride Corp., has died, the company announced last night (17 December).

Goolsby passed away after a massive stroke on Saturday while on a hunting trip in Texas. The 60-year-old was rushed to hospital but died yesterday.

"Our company has lost a gracious, talented leader who served as an inspiration to everyone around him, and we are deeply saddened by his death," said Bo Pilgrim, senior chairman and co-founder of Pilgrim's Pride.

"O.B. was a respected, gifted executive who helped guide Pilgrim's Pride through a period of historic growth with candor, honesty and a wonderful sense of humour. O.B. also was a man of great, unwavering faith, and we will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time."

Goolsby joined the company, the largest chicken processor in the US, in 1969 and has served as its president and CEO for three years.

The National Chicken Council said Goolsby was an "outstanding leader" in the poultry industry. "He was a man of faith, integrity and calm judgment.  Our hearts go out to his family and friends," NCC president George Watts said.