Brad Grey, former Paramount chief, is dead at 59

CEO of Paramount Pictures Brad Grey attends the "Fences" New York premiere on Dec. 19, 2016 in New York City.

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Former Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey died Sunday night following a battle with cancer. He was 59.

Grey's passing -- as well as his health issues -- came as a surprise to many in the entertainment industry, with his death coming just three months after he'd stepped down as head of the prominent Hollywood studio.

Grey ran Paramount for 12 years, succeeding Sherry Lansing. Prior to joining the studio, he worked as a talent manager before starting Brillstein-Grey with partner Bernie Brillstein. Their production company was responsible for TV shows like "The Sopranos" and "The Larry Sanders Show."

He also partnered with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to co-found film company Plan B, which produced this year's best picture winner, "Moonlight." Grey left Plan B in 2005 to head Paramount, where he oversaw critically lauded films such as "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood," "Arrival" and "Fences."

Jim Gianopulos, Grey's successor, called him a friend whom he "greatly admired" in a statement.

"He will be missed by us all, and left his mark on our industry and in our hearts," Gianolpulos wrote.

Grey is survived by wife Cassandra Grey and their son Jules; children from a previous marriage Sam, Max and Emily; mother Barbara Schumsky; brother Michael Grey and sister Robin Grey. The family said there will be a small private funeral service later this week, with a memorial service to be scheduled in the coming weeks.