The Charlotte Observer:
The family of Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor says he died by suicide while experiencing “unbearable” symptoms related to COVID-19.
Texas Roadhouse announced the death of Taylor, who founded the Kentucky-based restaurant chain in 1993, on Thursday.
In a joint statement provided to McClatchy News, Texas Roadhouse and Taylor’s family said he killed himself after experiencing ongoing symptoms, including “severe tinnitus,” after he was infected with COVID-19.
Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ear and usually caused by underlying conditions, including age-related hearing loss, according to Mayo Clinic. A study published in November found COVID-19 could worsen the condition.
“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 the statement.
Taylor will be remembered for giving away his entire compensation package to support frontline employees, the company said.
“This selfless act was no surprise to anyone who knew Kent and his strong belief in servant leadership,” Greg Moore, lead director, said in the company’s statement. “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 family says Taylor created the idea for Texas Roadhouse on a cocktail napkin, growing the business to over 600 locations in 49 states and 11 countries.
“We are saddened by the decision Kent felt he needed to make and want to emphasize more than ever the importance of reaching out for help if you or someone you love is suffering,” the family said.