LUCIO K. Tan, Jr., the newly appointed president and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines operator PAL Holdings, Inc., passed away on Monday at the age of 53.

He was the eldest child of taipan Lucio C. Tan, founder and chief executive of conglomerate LT Group, Inc. whose interests also include beverages, tobacco, property development and banking.

The younger Tan’s sister, Vivienne K. Tan, who is also a member of the PAL board, confirmed his death in a statement on Monday, saying: “It is with deep sorrow that I announce the passing of my brother, Lucio ‘Bong’ Tan, Jr. this morning, November 11, 2019. He was 53.”

News reports last Saturday said Mr. Tan was taken to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City after he collapsed during a basketball game in Mandaluyong City.

Ms. Tan said: “His untimely passing leaves a big void in our hearts and our group’s management team which would be very hard to fill.”

Mr. Tan is survived by his wife Julie as well as sons Hun hun (Lucio Tan III) and Kyle Tan.

“Our sincerest thanks to all who offered prayers and shared words of comfort during this hour of grief. Our family continues to request everyone to respect our wish for privacy as we go through this very difficult time. We ask for your prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. Wake details will be announced soon,” Mr. Tan’s sister said further.

Mr. Tan took over the flag carrier’s helm on Oct. 28, following the resignation of Gilbert Gabriel F. Santa Maria.

According to the official Web site of his family’s holding firm LT Group, Inc. where he served as director before his death, Mr. Tan earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1991. He also went to Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University for his master’s degree in business administration.

Besides his roles at PAL and LT Group, Mr. Tan had also served president and director at Tanduay Distillers, Inc. and Eton Properties Philippines, Inc, as well as executive vice-president and director at Fortune Tobacco Corp.

He had also been director at AlliedBankers Insurance Corp.; Philippine Airlines, Inc.; Philippine National Bank; PAL Holdings, Inc.; MacroAsia Corp.; PMFTC Inc.; Lucky Travel Corp., Air Philippines Corp., Tanduay Brands International, Inc, Asian Alcohol Corp.; Absolut Distillers, Inc.; Asia Brewery, Inc.; Foremost Farms, Inc.; Himmel Industries, Inc.; Progressive Farms, Inc.; The Charter House, Inc.; Eton City, Inc.; Belton Communities, Inc.; FirstHomes, Inc.; REM Development Corp.; Grandspan Development Corp.; Dominium Realty & Construction Corp.; Manufacturing Services & Trade Corp.; Fortune Tobacco International Corp. and Shareholdings, Inc.

The sudden death of the younger Tan casts doubt over the leadership of the airlines-to-banking group, especially as he was seen as a potential successor to his father, said Rens V. Cruz, an analyst at Regina Capital Development Corp. His passing “will definitely add a layer of uncertainty,” Mr. Cruz said.

PAL shares ended Monday flat at P8 apiece after surging by as much as 6.88% to peak at P8.55 each earlier in the day.

Mr. Tan, who was an avid fan and supporter of basketball, collapsed while playing for the Philippine Airlines team during the Pinoyliga Cup finals at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong on Saturday.

Prior to his death, Mr. Tan took over the University of the East men’s basketball team as head coach prior to the start of the ongoing season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines in September.

Together with consultant Lawrence Chongson, Mr. Tan helped the rebuilding Red Warriors to a 4-10 record before bowing out in the competition.

Despite missing the playoffs, the record of UE was three victories better than last season.

The coaching move was a further testament of the love and passion of Mr. Tan for the sport of basketball, which he engaged himself in on various capacities throughout the years.

In the mid-1990s Mr. Tan spearheaded the return of the Tanduay brand in the local basketball scene, putting up a team that competed in the Philippine Basketball League.

Tanduay then made its leap back to the Philippine Basketball Association, where it stayed from 1999-2001.

Last year, Mr. Tan and Tanduay came in as sponsors of the Batangas team in the fledgling Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Michael Angelo S. Murillo with input from Bloomberg