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COVID-19: Founder, CEO Of National Restaurant Chain Dies At Age 65

Kent Taylor
Kent Taylor Photo Credit: Facebook/Texas Roadhouse

The founder and chief executive officer of a national restaurant chain died by suicide amid a battle with COVID-19-related symptoms, the company announced.

Kent Taylor, who launched Texas Roadhouse in 1993, was 65 years old.

The symptoms included severe tinnitus, or ringing in the ear, and his suffering had increased in recent days, the company, Texas Roadhouse, announced in a statement sent to CNN.

Taylor died on Thursday, March 18.

"Kent leaves an unmatched legacy as a people-first leader, which is why he often said that Texas Roadhouse was a people company that just happened to serve steaks," the statement said.

The company operates Texas Roadhouse is a casual dining concept with over 630 restaurants system-wide in 49 states and 10 foreign countries. 

 “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kent Taylor," Texas Roadhouse Lead Director Greg Moore said in a separate, joint statement with the company's board of directors. "He founded Texas Roadhouse and dedicated himself to building it into a legendary experience for 'Roadies' and restaurant guests alike. 

"During the pandemic, he gave up his entire compensation package to help support his frontline workers. This selfless act was no surprise to anyone who knew Kent and his strong belief in servant leadership. 

"He was without a doubt, a people-first leader. His entrepreneurial spirit will live on in the company he built, the projects he supported, and the lives he touched.”

The company headquarters is in Louisville, Kentucky, where Mayor Greg Fischer said on Twitter that, "Louisville lost a much loved and one-of-a-kind citizen. ... Kent’s kind and generous spirit was his constant driving force whether it was quietly helping a friend or building one of America’s great companies in @texasroadhouse

"He was a maverick entrepreneur who embodied the values of never giving up and putting others first. My deepest condolences to Kent’s family and many, many friends."

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