DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The former CEO of Southwest Airlines, a Dallas-based company, passed away Saturday night.

Jim Parker passed away after having dinner with friends.

Gary Kelly, the CEO and chairman of Southwest, released a statement saying:

“Jim’s contributions to Southwest Airlines were many and immeasurable, and he valiantly led Southwest through one of the industry’s most trying times in the wake of the tragic 9/11 attacks. Under Jim’s Leadership, Southwest successfully navigated through this dark time, preserving the job security of our people while remaining profitable under the most unlikely of odds.”

Kelly also said the Southwest flag will be flown at half-staff this week to honor Kelly.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Jim’s wife, Pat, and the entire Parker family,” said Kelly. “Jim was a beloved member of our Southwest Family, and we will miss him dearly.”