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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Rich Passes the Baton

Meanwhile, big changes were afoot within Amway that would shake up the company’s own internal and external politics. In the summer of 1992, Rich suffered a stroke. For the first time, he began to wonder if he should continue as president of Amway with the daily stress of running a large company. After his earlier heart trouble and bypass surgery, Rich had changed his lifestyle, was eating healthier than he ever had, was exercising regularly, and trying to keep a lid on stress. Still, that December, he woke up at 4 am with such severe chest pains that Rich knew he was having a heart attack. He was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room in Grand Rapids. When he arrived, his heart had almost stopped beating. He heard a nurse say, “There’s no pulse.” Then he passed out.12 When he regained consciousness, doctors didn’t know whether Rich would survive. They discussed with the DeVos family an experimental and risky procedure that was being performed at the Cleveland Clinic. Rich wanted to do it and expected to live through the night. The doctors weren’t so sure. The next day, doctors performed the surgery. It required three bypasses. Rich got home in time for Christmas, but then developed an almost-fatal staph infection in his chest. He had to be sliced open three more times. Doctors cut out so much muscle that Rich’s chest had to be rebuilt by a plastic surgeon. The ordeal left him weak and wondering if his “time was up.”13 The next year, the day before he left ...

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