BETHESDA, M.D. — Stephen Garff Marriott, son of J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., died Sunday after a long battle with a degenerative mitochondrial disease. He was 54.

“Stephen was an inspiration to us every day as he struggled with a challenging disease that cost him his eyesight and hearing, and he never complained. He came to work right until the end to champion the values that his grandparents established when they opened their first root-beer stand. Stephen was convinced that our Marriott culture was our greatest competitive advantage. His wife and children will remember his ability to find joy and happiness, despite his daily hardships,” said J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., Stephen’s father and executive chairman, Marriott International.

Marriott served as EVP, Culture at Marriott International, where he was the chair of the Worldwide Business Council, a role he held since 1996, promoting company culture, community service and public policy. Beginning his career in 1985 as a sales manager at the Mountain Shadows Marriott Resort and Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., Marriott worked his way up through the company. He worked as GM of the Bethesda Marriott Hotel and director of Resort Marketing at Marriott Corporate Headquarters.

The former EVP also served on various Boards representing people with disabilities. In May, the company presented him with a namesake award, dubbed the Stephen G. Marriott Leadership Award.

Marriott is survived by his wife, Juliana, and their children, Stephen Blake, Jennifer and Ashley; his five grandchildren; his parents, Bill and Donna; his brothers, John and David; and his sister, Debbie.

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