Legendary Founder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, Dies

Southwest Airlines shared today that their founder and chairman emeritus Herbert D. Kelleher passed away today, January 3, 2019 at the age of 87.

A statement from the company said, “Herb was a pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator. His vision revolutionized commercial aviation and democratized the skies. Herb’s passion, zest for life, and insatiable investment in relationships made lasting and immeasurable impressions on all who knew him and will forever be the bedrock and esprit de corps of Southwest Airlines.

The entire Southwest Family extends our deepest sympathies to Herb’s wife, Joan, and his entire family.”

Southwest has posted a special page on The Southwest Airlines Community to honor their founder.

“Herb was a lifelong mentor and friend, and one of the greatest joys of my life has been working alongside Herb for over 30 years. His stamp on the airline industry and all those he touched has been profound,” said Gary Kelly, chairman and CEO of Southwest. “His vision for making air travel affordable for all revolutionized the industry, and you can still see that transformation taking place today. But his legacy extends far beyond our industry and far beyond the world of entrepreneurship. He inspired people; he motivated people; he challenged people—and, he kept us laughing all the way. He was an exceptionally gifted man with an enormous heart and love for people—all people. We have been beyond blessed to have him as a part of our lives.”