Giovanni Agnelli, honorary chairman of the Italian multinational and vehicle manufacturer Fiat, died of cancer on Friday. He was 81.

Giovanni Agnelli, honorary chairman of the Italian multinational and vehicle manufacturer Fiat, has died of cancer. He was 81.

Agnelli, who was widely known as Gianni, had been ill for a while and last year went to the United States for treatment for prostate cancer.

"Giovanni Agnelli died in his house in Turin after months of illness," the Agnelli family said.

Agnelli, whose grandfather founded the company in 1899, became Fiat managing

director in 1963 and chairman in 1966, a post he filled for 30 years.

”All of us at Fiat Auto South Africa are deeply saddened by the loss of such

a great man,” Fiat Auto SA said in a statement on Friday.