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Gene Tipton, who spent five decades working at Altadis U.S.A. and its predecessors, has passed away due to complications from cancer.

Tipton’s career began in 1964 at a company called Hav-A-Tampa Cigar, which made machine-made cigars in Tampa until 2009. That company was one of the predecessors to Altadis U.S.A., the modern-day premium cigar company behind the U.S. sales of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and others. Tipton worked for the company until 2014, when he retired as the vice-president of premium cigars after spending 50 years at the combined companies.

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A year later he would find himself back in the cigar business, this time working for Sindicato Cigar Group, which was being led by Jim Colucci, with whom Tipton worked with during their tenures at Altadis U.S.A.

“We are very saddened to learn that Gene Tipton has passed away,” said Javier Estades, president and ceo of Tabacalera USA, the parent of Altadis U.S.A., in a statement. “I met Gene when I came to the USA to work at AUSA more than nine years ago. He was truly a gentleman who loved this industry so much as well as our customers and clients. He had a rare combination of a deep knowledge of our market and was a great leader for our sales team. He was definitely an outstanding VP of Sales for so many years and from whom I learned so much.”

Update — This post originally indicated that Tipton was 75-years-old, he was 74.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.