Don Perry, a longtime spokesman for Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, died suddenly this morning of an apparent heart attack.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Perry, vice president of Public Relations, worked for the Chick-fil-A chain for 29 years.
"For many of you in the media, he was the spokesperson for Chick-fil-A. He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," the company said in a statement.
The unexpected death comes amidst a firestorm of controversy that erupted last week when president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage.
Since Cathy's statements were published, the company's social media outlets have been monopolized by the gay marriage debate, both for and against his stance. Boston and Chicago officials have vowed to block the chain's expansion in their cities, the Jim Henson Company dropped its partnership with Chick-fil-A and several universities have launched petitions against its presence on their campuses.
Perry headed up the company's responses to the controversy, last week releasing a statement statement that said Chick-fil-A plans "to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena ... The company's policy is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
Perry worked under Steven (Steve) A. Robinson, executive vice president, Marketing.
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