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Jon Flora

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Jon Flora (AP Photo/Courtesy of Fry's Foods Stores)
PHOENIX (AP) - Jon Flora, the president of Fry's Food Stores in Arizona and a well-known figure through area ads and in-store promotions, has died, the company announced in a statement. He was 58.

Dave Dillon, Kroger Chairman and CEO, said Saturday that the company was deeply saddened by Flora's sudden death because he mentored many employees and was "extraordinary leader."

"Jon leaves a legacy of enthusiasm and passion for doing what's right for our customers, our neighbors and our associates," Dillon said. "He touched the lives of countless people in our company as well as throughout our industry and community."

Friends said Flora died Friday.

The cause of death was not mentioned in the company statement. But Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Glendale, said on Twitter that it was a heart attack that claimed Flora's life.

"As many of you know I work for Fry's Food Stores," Larkin tweeted Friday. "It saddens me to say that my CEO Jon Flora passed away from a heart attack today."

Flora joined Kroger in 1971 as a clerk and bottle boy at Dillon's Stores. During his career, he held a number of leadership positions with the company, including vice president of merchandising.

In 2007, Flora was named president of Fry's.

Earlier this year, Flora was honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix as a "true champion for children in need."

The Tolleson-based Fry's employs 18,000 in Arizona.

Fry's is a division of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger Co.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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