The former head of HP, Lew Platt, has died aged 64.

Platt spent 33 years at the company, including seven at the helm, and passed away Thursday night in California, according to a statement from Boeing - the company where he served as a non-executive chairman having left HP in 1999. The cause of death was not announced.

HP president and CEO Mark Hurd was among the first to pay tribute. "Lew cared deeply for HP and its people, and his loss is being felt widely across our company," he said. "He was a natural leader who was enormously well liked and made an enduring impression on those he encountered. The way he treated people and how he ran the company set an exceptionally high standard of personal decency."

Boeing's chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney echosed similar feelings. "I am deeply saddened by Lew's untimely death," he said. "Lew shepherded Boeing with strength, grace, dignity and integrity through a period when the company most needed his steady hand. He was a compassionate man who put his own retirement and personal plans on the back burner to ensure that Boeing never missed a beat through its recent recovery."

Platt served in his role at the aerospace company as it recovered from a procurement scandal.

He was at HP from 1966 to 1999, starting as an entry-level engineer in the medical products group and rising to become president and CEO, taking over from David Packard as chairman in 1993. A statement issued by HP described Platt as "admired for his personal energy, openness and humor."