BOISE, Idaho -

Steve Appleton, chairman and CEO of Micron Technology, died Friday morning in a small-plane accident in Boise. He was 51.

Officials say that around 9 a.m., the experimental aircraft crashed between two runways, killing Appleton, an avid pilot. He was the only person on board.

The plane is described as a fixed-wing single-engine Lancair.

Ada County dispatch said it received reports of a small plane that was on fire before it landed.

?Our hearts go out to his wife, Dalynn, his children and his family during this tragic time,? the semiconductor manufacturing company wrote in a news release. ?Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large.?

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador also expressed their condolences.

?Like the rest of Idaho, we are stunned and deeply saddened by the news of Steve Appleton?s sudden death, and we join his family and the Micron employees in mourning this huge loss,? they said in a statement. ?Steve Appleton was to Idaho what Steve Jobs was to America. His innovation, positive attitude and forward-thinking approach will be greatly missed.?

Sen. Jim Risch, who called Appleton a good friend, released a separate statement.

"He was a talented and tireless worker who made Micron one of the biggest success stories of our time. He represented the best of our free market economy," Risch said. "Steve was an outstanding business leader and very generous to so many causes."

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and his wife, Lori, said, "Idaho has lost a true champion, a great friend, and a visionary businessman. Steve was someone who understood the value as well as the cost of excellence. He lived life to the fullest, and while he enjoyed great success in business and in life, he never lost his intensity or his drive. "

Trading in Micron stocks has been halted. Micron is one of Idaho's largest employers.