- Stephen Covey died early Monday at an Idaho hospital
- Death was from effects stemming from an April bicycle accident, his family says
- He was a co-founder of FranklinCovey Co.
Author Stephen Covey, whose "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" sold more than 20 million copies, died Monday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. He was 79.
Covey's family issued a statement, reported by CNN affiliate KSL, saying he died from residual effects of an April bicycle accident.
"In his final hours, he was surrounded by his loving wife and each one (of) his children and their spouses, just as he always wanted," the statement said, according to KSL.
Covey was "one of the world's foremost leadership authorities, organizational experts and thought leaders," according to a biography posted on the website of his 2011 book, "The 3rd Alternative."
Other best-sellers by Covey include "First Things First," "Principle-Centered Leadership," and "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness," according to the biography.
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" has been named one of the most influential management books by several organizations, including Time and Forbes magazines. The audio book is the best-selling nonfiction audio in history, according to the website.
Named in 1996 as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans, according to the biography, Covey "made teaching principle-centered living and principle-centered leadership his life's work."
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert released a statement saying he was "saddened" to hear of the death of Covey, a "good friend."
"His combination of intellect and empathy made him a truly unique and visionary individual," Herbert said. "The skills he taught, and importantly, the personal example provided by the life he led, will continue to bless the lives of many. Our hearts go out to his beloved wife Sandra and the entire Covey family."
Covey held a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Utah, a master's in business administration from Harvard and a doctorate from Brigham Young University. He also received 10 honorary doctorate degrees, his biography said.
He founded Covey Leadership Center, which in 1997 merged with Franklin Quest to create FranklinCovey Co. The company is a "global consulting and training leader in the areas of strategy execution, leadership, customer loyalty, sales performance, school transformation and individual effectiveness," with 44 offices in 147 countries, according to the website.
"From the time of the merger to his retirement from the board last year, Dr. Covey devoted essentially all of his time and effort to writing and teaching," FranklinCovey said in a news release.
"We lost a dear friend today," Bob Whitman, chairman and CEO of FranklinCovey, said in the news release. "Stephen was one of the world's great human beings. His impact is incalculable and his influence will continue to inspire generations to come."
In 2010, Covey joined Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business faculty as a tenured full professor, the biography said.
Covey and his wife, Sandra, lived in Provo, Utah. He was a father of nine, a grandfather of 52 and a great-grandfather of two, according to the website.
"Stephen frequently referred to them as his greatest joy, inspiration, and most significant contribution and legacy to the world," Whitman said in the news release.
Among the honors he received, the release said, were the Fatherhood Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative, the Sikh's International Man of Peace Award, and The National Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership.