Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor dies by suicide aged 65 after suffering severe post-COVID symptoms
- Texas Roadhouse announced Kent Taylor’s death aged 65 on Thursday
- Family said he had been suffering severe post-coronavirus symptoms, including tinnitus
- ‘Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,’ family said
Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor has died by suicide aged 65.
The restaurant chain announced the tragic news in a Facebook post, saying Taylor died on Thursday after experiencing from severe post-coronavirus symptoms, including tinnitus.
‘Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,’ Taylor’s family said in a statement.
Taylor founded Texas Roadhouse in 1993 after coming up with the idea on a cocktail napkin. The first location opened in Louisville, Kentucky, where the company is based.
Taylor held various roles at the company, serving as chief executive and chairman of the board until his death. Last spring he made headlines when he gave up his salary to help pay frontline workers during the pandemic.
Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor (pictured) died by suicide aged 65 on Thursday
‘Our community and the restaurant industry lost a legend and the Taylor family lost a wonderful son, father and grandad this week,’ the family said in a statement obtained by CNN.
‘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.
‘He changed the lives of hundreds of millions of employees and guests over the past 28 years.’
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer paid tribute to Taylor on Twitter, saying the city had 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,’ Fisher wrote.
‘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.’
The family statement noted that Taylor had funded a clinical study to help members of the military suffering with tinnitus.
Some studies have suggested that COVID-19 can exacerbate tinnitus, which causes a ringing sound in one or both ears.
This is a developing story.
Taylor founded Texas Roadhouse in 1993 after coming up with the idea on a cocktail napkin. The first location opened in Louisville, Kentucky, where the company is based