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Gary Sain, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, passed away last Friday night, May 4. According to Visit Orlando, Sain died “suddenly and unexpectedly.” Sain collapsed after delivering opening remarks at this year’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s Celebrate the Children fundraiser, for which he was the event chairman. Sain was pronounced dead at Florida Hospital Celebration Health. He was 61.“As the leader of Visit Orlando, Gary served as our community’s brand ambassador working tirelessly on behalf of Orlando and the entire travel and tourism industry,” said Paul Tang, chairman of Visit Orlando Board of Directors, in a statement. “The Visit Orlando team, our destination partners and our community have lost a wonderful leader and friend. He will truly be missed by all that knew him.”Sain joined Visit Orlando in 2007 from Ypartnership, where he served as executive vice president, chief marketing officer. A veteran of the hospitality industry, he also held executive positions at Premier Cruise Line, Hyatt Hotels and The Ritz-Carlton. Sain participated in industry boards and organizations including the U.S. Travel Association, Visit Florida, the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association and Brand USA.Colleagues credit Sain for helping make Orlando one of the most popular tourism destinations in the world. Under his guidance, Orlando was the first U.S. destination to break the 50-million-visitor milestone. Sain led many successful branding initiatives including the “Orlando Makes Me Smile” advertising campaign and he and his team changed the name of the Orlando CVB to Visit Orlando.
Sain is survived by his wife, Pam; two daughters; and his mother, Elizabeth Sain. At this time, the cause of death is unknown.