Joel H. Rassman, chief financial officer of Toll Brothers for 26 years and a pillar of his profession, died early Tuesday morning following a two-year battle with leukemia. He was 65.

"We are heartbroken that Joel has left us," said Robert I. Toll, Toll Brothers' executive chairman, in announcing the death. "For three decades he has been a friend, counselor, and advisor to all of us both professionally and personally. As we announced in December of 2008, he faced serious illness. He struggled mightily and was a model of determination for all of us. He personally planned for the next generation of financial leaders of the company."

"As brilliant as Joel was, his heart exceeded his intellect. He will be forever missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time," Toll said in the announcement.

Rassman served as Toll Brothers' CFO since 1984 and was a member of the board of directors since 1996. He was named Institutional Investor's Homebuilding CFO of the Year every year from 2006 to 2010.

Despite his illness, Rassman was working full-time up until his death, said Frederick N. Cooper, Toll's senior vice president for investor relations.

Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder and Big Builder magazines.