January 17, 2005
Former McDonald's Corp. chief executive Charlie Bell died Jan. 17, 2005, Monday in Australia following a seven-month battle with colorectal cancer. He was 44. Bell's cancer was diagnosed in May, just a few weeks after he was promoted into the top spot at the fast-food giant following the unexpected heart-attack death of his predecessor, Jim Cantalupo. Bell relinquished his duties at the company in November. Bell's meteoric rise within the company is legend. From a 15-year-old crew member cleaning restrooms at a Sydney restaurant in 1975, he rose to become Australia's youngest store manager at 19. Last year he became the first person from outside the United States to hold the top post at the Golden Arches.