Sean Maloney, the guy whom many predict could become the head honcho at Intel one day, has suffered a stroke during the weekend and will take a prolonged medical leave of absence.
Mr Maloney has been working at the world's largest semiconductor company for nearly three decades now and is seen as one of the main contenders to take over from Paul Otellini when he will be ready to leave.
Intel's CEO said that "I visited with Sean and his sense of humour and determination to return to work fill the room," before adding that "We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return."
Such is his importance to the company that the shares of Intel had to be halted in after hours trading and prompted Wedbush Morgan analyst Patrick Wang to say of him that he is the heart and soul of Intel Marketing.
The 53-year old former programmer from London joined Intel in 1982, just after the microprocessor was picked by Big Blue to form the backbone of the IBM-PC compatible which kickstarted the personal computer revolution.
In charge of the sales and marketing division of Intel, Maloney has been overseeing some of the biggest successes of the company's history like Core, Centrino and Atom campaigns.
Sean Maloney is currently joint head of architecture, a role that he shares with Dadi Perimutter, something that will allow it to have a direct impact on the very future of the company. Shares of Intel have been steadily falling over the last 48 hours although that might be linked to the general trading environment