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Tom Coughlin, the Sam Walton protege who rose to become the number two executive at the company, passed away on Friday. He was 66. The cause of death was not released.

The Wall Street Journal writes that "Coughlin was a Wal-Mart legend ... He started at the company in 1978 as director of loss prevention, and later was an integral part of the executive team that made Wal-Mart the largest retailer in the world. He was a well-respected manager, known as a fiercely loyal and hardworking leader who demanded the same commitment from his deputies.

"But he is perhaps best known for the scandal that erupted around him as he retired as executive vice chairman in 2005. He left the company amid accusations he misappropriated as much as $500,000 from Wal-Mart through fraudulent reimbursements and improper uses of gift cards. After pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax-evasion charges, he was sentenced to 27 months of home confinement in 2006. The judge spared him jail time in part because his doctor at the time described him as '57 going on 87,' saying he had coronary disease, diabetes and other ailments."
KC's View:
Maybe it is just me, but I've noticed in the last week or two the deaths of a number of people - Garry Shandling, Patty Duke, and now Tom Coughlin - who were in their sixties. I personally find this to be distressing .. especially because these days, when I see obits for people who died in their seventies, my first thought it that it seems way too young to pass away.