Steve Appleton, chief executive and chairman of Micron Technology Inc., died Friday, Feb. 3, when a small plane he was piloting crashed at the Boise Airport in Idaho. He was 51.

Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large, Micron spokesman Daniel Francisco said in a statement on the company's website. According to a report by The Associated Press, Appleton had begun working at Micron in 1983 and worked his way up. He became chief operating officer and president in 1991, and then was named chairman, CEO and president in 1994. In 2007 he assumed his most recent position.

Micron, known for making DRAM, NAND and NOR flash memory, is a company that produces memory and semiconductor technologies found in computing, mobile, and automotive designs. In 2012 Micron received the Best Technology of 2011 award from The Linley Group Analysts' Choice Awards.

On Friday, Ada County dispatch in Idaho received reports of a small plane on fire before it crashed, AP reported.  Appleton had survived a small plane crash in 2004, sustaining a punctured lung, head injuries, ruptured disk and broken bones.  A frequent flier, Appleton owned several types of aircrafts and was also an avid motocross enthusiast.

Surviving Appleton are his wife, Dalynn, and his children.