Longtime Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner has died just two days after announcing that he was taking a medical leave of absence. The company confirmed Tuesday that the 58-year-old, who disclosed last August that he had been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer since 2014, had passed away, CNBC reports. Goldner, who joined the toy company in 2000, became CEO in 2008 and chairman of the board in 2015. He is credited with moving Hasbro beyond toys to become a big presence in movies, TV, and gaming. In an email to employees, Hasbro execs announced the death with "deep and profound sadness," describing him as "the heart, soul, and visionary of the company."
Goldner is credited as executive producer or producer on numerous toy-related films, including the Transformers and GI Joe movies, a My Little Pony film, and a movie based on the Battleship board game, Variety reports. Titles based on Clue, Dungeons & Dragons, and Monopoly are still in development. "Brian was an incredible partner and collaborator with us on so many beloved franchise titles including GI Joe and Transformers, and he was a visionary leader in evolving Hasbro into a global content company," Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins said in a statement. "He will be sorely missed."
Goldner also built Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast subsidiary, which specializes in role-playing games and digital gaming, the Providence Journal reports. In 2019, he led the acquisition of Entertainment One, producer of titles including Peppa Pig. Goldner is survived by his wife Barbara and their daughter Brooke. Their son Brandon died from an accidental opioid overdose six years ago. In the years that followed, the Goldners became active in causes trying to prevent opioid overdoses, winning praise from lawmakers including then-Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. (Read more Hasbro stories.)