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Motivational speaker Stephen Covey, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' author, dead at 79

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SALT LAKE CITY - Stephen R. Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" as well as several other books that together have sold millions of copies, has died. He was 79.

In a statement sent to employees of a Utah consulting firm Covey co-founded, his family said the writer and motivational speaker died at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, early Monday due to complications from a bicycle accident in April.

"In his final hours, he was surrounded by his loving wife and each one of his children and their spouses, just as he always wanted," the family said.

Covey was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious in the bicycle accident on a steep road in the foothills of Provo, Utah, about 45 miles (72 kilometres) south of Salt Lake City.

Covey was considered a pioneer in the self-help genre aimed at helping readers become more effective in their lives, most notably with "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," which sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages.

"This was one of the first books in recent times that was really directed at prioritizing the way you worked, so you could be more effective as an individual" said Adrian Zackheim, president and publisher of Portfolio, a business imprint at Penguin Group (USA). "It wasn't about how to be a manager or how or to run a company. It was about how to conduct yourself."

"Covey's influence was very pervasive," Zackheim added. "It was a book that applied to everybody. You would hear about whole organizations where everybody in the company was expected to read the book."

Covey also was the author of several other bestsellers, including "First Things First," ''Principle-Centred Leadership," ''The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families," and "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness."

Covey was the co-founder of Utah-based professional services company FranklinCovey.

At the time of his bicycle accident, his publicist, Debra Lund, said doctors had not found any signs of long-term damage to his head.

"He just lost control on his bike and crashed," Lund said. "He was wearing a helmet, which is good news."

Catherine Sagers, Covey's daughter, told The Salt Lake Tribune in April that her father had suffered some bleeding on his brain after the accident.

A telephone message left for Sagers on Monday wasn't returned.

___

Rindels reported from Las Vegas. Associated Press writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report from New York.

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