Dov Lautman, a highly successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, passed away Saturday morning at the age of 77.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that “Lautman was one of the founders of modern Israeli industry and a pioneer of advanced technology and exporting,” Ynet reported.

The prime minister called him a Zionist “who saw the promotion of education as both a personal and a national mission. Even when he became ill… he continued to pursue his work. May he rest in peace.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that “Lautman was a great example of people who do, and don’t just talk.”

Lautman, who suffered from muscular dystrophy, or ALS (also referred to as Lou Gherig’s disease), was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in 2007. He headed the Israel Manufacturers Association from 1986 to 1993.

Born in Tel Aviv, Lautman traveled to the United States to study engineering at MIT.

When he returned to Israel, he became the CEO of a textile company, Sabrina, and later the owner and founder of Delta Galil Industries, which employs thousands of workers and is based in the north of Israel. He was also appointed as the prime minister’s special envoy for economic development and foreign investment in the mid-1990s, during Yitzhak Rabin’s tenure.

Lautman also worked on social affairs to promote understanding and coexistence between Jews and Arabs.

His funeral will be held Sunday in Kiryat Shaul.