The longtime public relations head for the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain died Friday morning, WRBL-TV reports.
In a statement to the station, the company confirmed the death of Vice President for Corporate Relations Don Perry.
“Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years,” the statement said. “He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him.”
Though the statement did not identify the cause of Perry’s death, a relative of Chick-Fil-A founder CEO Dan Cathy told the station it happened after a heart attack.
Perry’s death comes in the midst of the company being widely criticized following Cathy’s admission that he runs the company “on biblical principles” and has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations. The Jim Henson Company recently decided to sever ties with the company, which was also publicly criticized by Boston mayor Thomas Menino. A same-sex kiss-in protest event has also been proposed on Facebook.
In response, Fox News host Mike Huckabee encouraged his supporters to eat at Chick-Fil-A en masse on August 1, as a response to attacks by “militant homosexual advocates.”
“The attempts to hurt or destroy Chick Fil-A is nothing short of economic bullying,” he wrote on In the name of ‘tolerance,’ there is an effort being mounted to put pressure on people to stop eating at Chick Fil-A. … The Christian world view of Dan Cathy is being met with intolerance and vicious hate speech.”
[image via normanack on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]