Kent Taylor, the founder and managing director of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain, died of suicide Thursday after suffering from symptoms after Covid-19, the company and his family said in a statement. He was 65 years old.
"Kent Taylor committed suicide this week following a battle with symptoms related to post-Covid, including severe tinnitus," the statement said.
Mr Taylor struggled with the disease, but "the suffering, which has worsened greatly in recent days, has become unbearable," the statement said. It added that Mr Taylor recently committed to "fund a clinical trial to help members of the military who also have tinnitus," causing ringing and other noises in the ear.
His body was found in a field on his property near Louisville, Kentucky, Kentucky State Police told the Louisville Courier Journal. Oldham County's state police and coroner did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Mr. Taylor, who also served as chairman of the company's board of directors, founded Texas Roadhouse in 1993. He wanted to create an "affordable Texan style restaurant" but was turned down more than 80 times trying to find investors. based on a biography provided by the company.
Ultimately, he raised $ 300,000 from three doctors in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and designed the first Texas Roadhouse on a cocktail napkin for investors.
The first Texas Roadhouse opened in Clarksville, Indiana in 1993. Three of the chain's first five restaurants failed, but opened 611 locations in 49 states and 28 international locations in 10 countries.
Mr. Taylor was in the day-to-day running of Texas Roadhouse until his death, the company said. He oversaw menu choices, selected the murals for the restaurants, and personally selected songs for the jukeboxes.
Kent Taylor was born on September 27, 1955. He grew up in Louisville and graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he received a scholarship.
He is survived by his parents, Powell and Marilyn Taylor; his children Michelle, Brittney and Max; and five grandchildren. He was married twice; Both marriages ended in divorce.
Greg Moore, executive director of the company's board of directors, said in a statement that Mr Taylor left his compensation package during the coronavirus pandemic to support those on the front lines of the company.
Jerry Morgan, President of the Company, will succeed Mr. Taylor as General Manager. Texas Roadhouse will announce its next chairman at a later date, a company spokesman said.
Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and minority leader, said in a statement that Mr. Taylor "didn't fit into the shape of a large C.E.O."
"Kent built a billion dollar company with creativity, drive and many bold risks," said McConnell. "When the Texas Roadhouse stretched around the globe, Kent kept his heart and headquarters in Louisville."
If you are thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). For a list of additional resources, see SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.