Lewis Laughlin, the 34-year-old president and CEO of Laughlin Associates, died in his sleep sometime before dawn Monday.
Bob Seligman, executive vice president of the corporation and close friend of Laughlin's, said he had no known health problems.
"It's a real shock," he said. "He had just passed an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) physical. He went fishing Saturday at Tahoe and I was expecting to see him at the Monday staff meeting."
Because of the circumstances, Seligman said he expects a full autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
Laughlin Associates is a family-owned company founded in Reno in 1972 to provide business services to out-of-state and foreign companies in Nevada. Seligman said Laughlin Associates provides contract services, including acting as resident agent for about 9,000 different companies. The family moved the operation to Carson City in 1979.
Seligman said the office on North Carson Street was shut down Monday because of Laughlin's unexpected death but will be open for business today. Laughlin employs about 100 people.
"The same management team will continue to operate the company," he said.
Laughlin is survived by his wife, Pam, and son, David, 4.
He was preceded in death by his father, Harley, who died in March 1997 and his mother, Dottie, who died in April 1999.
He was past president of the Nevada Association of Independent Businesses, a licensed pilot, contributor to the Reno/Sparks Gospel Mission and member of Who's Who of Business Leaders.
He also served on Rep. John Ensign's Small Business Advisory Committee and was director and vice chairman of the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
No services have been set yet.