Adrienne Vaughan, president of Bloomsbury Publishing USA, died on August 3 in a boating accident on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. She was 45.

Vaughan was vacationing in Italy with her husband and two children at the time of the accident. The family had rented a 29-foot speedboat for an excursion around the Amalfi Coast, during which the vessel collided 130-foot sailing ship carrying a wedding party. Upon impact, Vaughan was thrown overboard and fatally struck by the boats' propellers. Her husband was taken to the hospital with some injuries and her two children—a 12-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy—were not physically harmed.

Vaughan's speedboat was piloted by a 30-year-old skipper who reportedly failed a toxicological test following the accident, according to the Agenzia Giornalistica Italia. Italian authorities are currently investigating the incident.

Nigel Newton, Bloomsbury chief executive, called Vaughan's death a "terrible blow" and "devastating for everyone at Bloomsbury," adding that the publisher is doing everything it can to support her family in Naples and in the U.S.

"Adrienne was a natural business leader with a great future ahead of her. She was deeply loved by colleagues due to her combination of great personal warmth with a fierce determination to make the business succeed and grow," Newton said. "Her business instincts were outstanding and she loved authors, readers and her colleagues equally."

Beyond Bloomsbury, Vaughan was increasingly active in industry issues. In 2023, she was elected to the board of the Association of American Publishers where was on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and was a featured speaker at this year's annual meeting.

“Adrienne Vaughan was a leader of dazzling talent and infectious passion and had a deep commitment to authors and readers," said AAP board chair Julia Reidhead, who is also chairman and president of W.W. Norton, and Maria A. Pallante, AAP president and CEO, in a joint statement. “Most of all she was an extraordinary human being, and those of us who had the opportunity to work with her will be forever fortunate. We send our love and condolences to all those who are in shock and mourning at this tragic loss, most particularly her husband and two children, whom she spoke of frequently with great pride. We hold our colleagues at Bloomsbury in our constant thoughts and send prayers and very best wishes to her husband for the speediest possible recovery.”

Vaughan was promoted to president in October 2021, having joined Bloomsbury in September 2020 as executive director and COO. She took over responsibility for the company's publishing operation in February 2021. Previously, Vaughan held roles at Scholastic, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and Oxford University Press.

This story has been updated with new comments.