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Former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico dies at age 71

Then Pepsi CEO Roger Enrico addresses reporters about the soft drink giant's return to the Venezuelan market in this file Dec. 9. 1996 photo.

(Reuters) - Former PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) Chief Executive Officer Roger Enrico, a noted marketer who pioneered using celebrities including pop star Michael Jackson to help sell soda, died at the age of 71, Pepsi said on Thursday.

Enrico, who was CEO from 1996 to 2001 and known as the "Cola King," worked at the Purchase, New York-based company for more than 30 years and was the architect behind the "Choice for a New Generation Campaign" that featured Jackson dancing in commercials.

“Roger Enrico was, quite simply, one of the most creative marketers of his or any generation. He was a risk-taker, never afraid to challenge the status quo," PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said in a statement. “Today is an incredibly sad day for the PepsiCo family, for we have lost one of the true legends of our company and our industry."

Enrico was also chairman of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc (DWA.O) from 2004 to 2012.

Enrico, who was born in 1944 in Chisholm, Minnesota, was chairman of PepsiCo, the world's second biggest food and beverage company, from 2001 until 2003. The cause of his death was not released.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)