A Huntsman employee who was badly burned in Armenia and was returned to Utah aboard industrialist Jon M. Huntsman's private jet died early Sunday morning.

David Horne, 70, general manager of the Huntsman family's humanitarian efforts in Armenia for the past seven years, died at 12:30 a.m. at University of Utah Health Sciences Center, said hospital spokesman John Dwan.A statement released from Huntsman Corp. on Sunday said Horne died of heart failure.

"David Horne was truly the `Angel of Mercy' for an entire country," Jon Huntsman said in a prepared statement. "He brought the Armenian people hope and saved many lives. We truly love him."

In a dramatic rescue attempt, Horne was flown to Salt Lake City on Thursday after he was injured in Yerevan when propane from a leaking gas heater exploded. He apparently was lighting the heater in his apartment at the time of the accident.

Huntsman, chairman and chief executive officer of Huntsman Corp., and experts from the University hospital's Intermountain Burn Center flew to Lyon, France, where they picked up Horne, a personal friend of Huntsman. On their return trip, they stopped briefly in Michigan when Horne experienced respiratory trouble and to retrieve a specialist Huntsman knew.

Huntsman was accompanied by his son, Peter, as well as the University burn center team, which he hired.

Among the projects Horne supervised in Armenia was the operation of a cement factory, which has produced materials to house 30,000 Armenians left homeless following the 1988 earthquake.

He also coordinated the shipment and delivery of more than 70 railcars of food to residents during the last two severe winters.

Horne's wife, Jeanne, who worked with her husband in helping the Armenian people, described him as a "quiet man, doing what he loved to do and doing it well. He was a man of great integrity and his word was always his bond."

Family members expect to hold a funeral in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, while a memorial service is planned in Armenia in April.