Intel’s first hire and one-time CEO Andy Grove has passed away aged 79, leading to a flood of tributes from technology industry heavyweights.

Budapest-born Grove immigrated to the United States in 1956-7 having survived Nazi occupation and escaped Soviet repression.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1963, he was hired by Gordon Moore at Fairchild Semiconductor as a researcher and rose to assistant head of R&D under Moore.

When Moore and Fairchild co-founder Robert Noyce left the company to found Intel in 1968, Grove was their first hire.

In an obituary, Intel said Grove “played a critical role in the decision to move Intel’s focus from memory chips to microprocessors and led the firm’s transformation into a widely recognised consumer brand.”

“Under his leadership, Intel produced the chips, including the 386 and Pentium, that helped usher in the PC era,” the chipmaker said.

“The company also increased annual revenues from US$1.9 billion to more than US$26 billion.”

Grove also became known for several management books, including 1999’s Only the Paranoid Survive – a reference to his constant watch for signs of complacency.

“Andy approached corporate strategy and leadership in ways that continue to influence prominent thinkers and companies around the world,” Intel Chairman Andy Bryant said.

“He combined the analytic approach of a scientist with an ability to engage others in honest and deep conversation, which sustained Intel’s success over a period that saw the rise of the personal computer, the Internet and Silicon Valley.”

US media executive Normal Pearlstine recalled in a separate obituary the efforts in coaxing Grove to write an autobiography.

Tributes for Grove came from Intel, Google, Apple, Microsoft, venture capitalists and other high-profile technology executives.

Andy Grove was one of the giants of the technology world. He loved our country and epitomized America at its best. Rest in peace.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 22, 2016

Andy Grove was an inspiration growing up, his impact will be felt for a long time. RIP Andy Grove

— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) March 22, 2016

I’m sad to hear that Andy Grove has died. I loved working with him. He was one of the great business leaders of the 20th century.

— Bill Gates (@BillGates) March 22, 2016

RIP Andy Grove. The best company builder Silicon Valley has ever seen, and likely will ever see.

— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) March 22, 2016