ORLANDO - The president and CEO of Visit Orlando, Gary Sain, has died.
A Visit Orlando official confirmed that Sain died late Friday night. The official did not say how Sain died.
News 13 reports that Sain oversaw the Visit Orlando organization that markets and sells the Orlando area as a family leisure destination in the world and one of the top meetings and convention destinations in America. He was a leading figure in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and was frequently seen in the media touting the benefits of travel and the industry's importance to the economy as a vehicle for economic development and prosperity.
Sain was a frequent guest of News 13 to talk about various events happening across the area and their impact on all of Central Florida.
Sain also served on several local boards including United Arts and Florida Citrus Sports.
His funeral plans have not yet been announced.
According to News 13, Sain received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing from Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. He and his wife, Pamela, have two grown daughters and reside in Maitland.
Visit Orlando Chairman Paul Tang released a statment:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I have sad news to share with you. Friday evening, Gary Sain, president & CEO of Visit Orlando, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Gary was a loving son, husband and father. Our thoughts go out to the people he most cherished, Gary's mother Elizabeth Sain, wife Pam and daughters Vanessa Sain-Dieguez (Luis) and Olivia.
As the leader of Visit Orlando, Gary served as our community's brand ambassador working tirelessly on behalf of Orlando and the entire travel and tourism industry. He spent his entire career working in hospitality and was honored numerous times for his contributions. The Visit Orlando team, our destination partners and our community have lost a wonderful leader and friend. He will truly be missed by all that knew him.
The family has asked for privacy as they go through this very difficult time. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.
Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer released a statement:
This is very tragic news and a terrible loss for our community. Under Gary's leadership as Visit Orlando's President and CEO, he helped put Orlando on the map as the number one tourism destination in the world, continuing to solidify our tourism market and the backbone of our economy. He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs released a statement:
This is a great personal loss and I extend my sympathy to Gary's family, friends and the entire community. Gary's leadership leaves Visit Orlando in a strong position to carry on his vision to promote Orlando/Orange County as the world's top tourist destination and a wonderful place to meet and conduct business. Thanks to the solid team Gary put in place, I have total confidence that Visit Orlando will continue to fulfill that mission.
Orlando Magic's CEO, Alex Martins, released a statement regarding Sain's passing:
The Orlando Magic is terribly saddened by the passing of a great community leader in Gary Sain. We had the great pleasure of working closely with Gary on the NBA All Star Game as well as other sports tourism initiatives. He was a great leader and a great friend. This is a tragic loss for his family and our community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Pam and his daughters.
Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, released a statement:
I am deeply saddened by Gary's sudden passing, as are so many at Disney who had the privilege to work with him. He was a good friend to our company, our community and to me, and we will miss him dearly. Gary's leadership enabled Orlando to remain the world's top tourist destination during challenging times, and he leaves a legacy that we can build upon for years to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary's wife, Pam, and his entire family, as we all mourn a good man who made a real difference for our community.
President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida, Gary Cain, released a statement:
Gary embraced our mission fully. We were Visit Orlando's charitable partner this past year. Gary personally spoke with our members on several occasions about career possibilities in the tourism/hospitality sector, he provided guidance on what a young person needed to do to be prepared for success and he genuinely enjoyed each interaction. Gary was a dynamic leader who brought great passion, vision, and personal investment to his work and to our mission.