Kent Taylor, the CEO of the popular restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse, died Thursday by suicide after experiencing “unbearable” COVID-19 symptoms, his family told multiple news outlets.
Texas Roadhouse confirmed the death in a Facebook post, writing, “We will miss you, Kent. Because of you and your dream of Texas Roadhouse, we get to say we [love] our jobs every day.”
Taylor’s family said in a statement to The Hill and CNN that the business executive “took his own life” after “a battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe tinnitus,” which is a ringing in the ears.
“Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,” the statement said.
“But in true Kent fashion, he always found a silver lining to help others. Most recently, he committed to fund a clinical study to help members of the military who also suffer with tinnitus.”
From March 2020 through January 2021, Taylor gave up his salary and donated it to assist frontline restaurant workers during the pandemic, WAVE reported.
Texas Roadhouse has over 600 restaurants in 49 states. It’s based in Louisville, Kentucky.
On Thursday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted his condolences, 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 said. “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.”
Texas Roadhouse, which is known for its steak and ribs, opened in 1993.