Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann, right, and CEO Sergio Marchionne at a news conference following the presentation of the automaker's five-year business plan at the Balocco test track near Turin, Italy, on June 1.
Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died Wednesday, suffered an embolism while undergoing an operation for an invasive shoulder sarcoma and had failed to tell Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann of the seriousness of his illness, an Italian business website reported Tuesday.
Lettera43, in a report Tuesday citing anonymous sources, said Marchionne, 66, had been diagnosed "long ago" with the invasive shoulder sarcoma -- a malignant form of cancer that can develop in the body's soft tissue -- and "expressed some doubts" about the effectiveness of the high-risk operation he underwent at the University of Zurich in late June.
Sources told Lettera43, which has led coverage of Marchionne's illness, that during the operation, Marchionne was struck by a cerebral embolism, plunging him into a coma.
According to the American Heart Association, an embolism occurs when a blood clot or piece of fatty plaque breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in a blood vessel and blocks blood flow.
When an embolism blocks the flow of blood to the brain, it is called a cerebral embolism, a type of stroke.
Lettera43 says Marchionne suffered for some time from "severe shoulder pain that made arm movements difficult," according to a translation, and that he took cortisone to soothe them. It says that Marchionne also suffered from a chronic thyroid condition for which he had been taking medications for an extended period, which other sources have told Automotive News.
A spokeswoman for FCA US declined to comment on the report.