Poultry, beef and pork processing giantTyson Foods Inc ., Springdale, Ark., said the company entrepreneurial former Chairman and CEODonald J. Tyson, died today, Thursday, January 6, 2011, from complications of cancer. He was 80.

"The current leadership of our company -- from [President & CEO] Donnie Smith and Jim Lochner on down -- has the total support of me and the other Tyson board members as well as all those associated with the Tyson Limited Partnership," said son and Chairman John Tyson. "Our company just had a very successful year, and with the outstanding board of directors and very strong leadership team we now have in place, we expect the future to be bright for all our team members, shareholders and other stakeholders. That is what my father worked for his whole life and it's what those of us still involved with the company intend to deliver."

Tyson added, "My sisters, my children, Barbara Tyson and I are truly saddened by the loss of our father, as are many, many friends, business associates and Tyson team members. He was a true visionary who led Tyson Foods from a small regional chicken company to a multi-billion dollar food processing enterprise.

"He will be missed by everyone who knew him. An era has passed, but Tyson Foods and the Tyson family remain committed to the City of Springdale where our corporate headquarters is located, all our plant communities and other stakeholders."