Kent Taylor, Texas Roadhouse CEO and co-founder, has taken his own life, his family says, after suffering “unbearable” COVID-19 symptoms.
Taylor’s family revealed in a statement that the business executive “took his own life this week” after “a battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe 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,” the statement read.
“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,” the statement continued, referring to ringing noises in one or both ears.
“He changed the lives of hundreds of millions of employees and guests over the past 28 years. He also impacted hundreds of thousands of people through his generous and often anonymous donations,” his family added.
Taylor made headlines a year ago for giving up his bonus and base salary to pay his chain’s workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The donation from Taylor’s base salary amounted to $525,000, and his bonus was $525,000, a spokesperson for the company said at the time.
“On a prorated basis, the forgone salary and bonus would be just under a $1 million donation to employees,” the spokesperson said.
Texas Roadhouse confirmed Taylor’s death in a Facebook post.
“We will miss you, Kent. Because of you and your dream of Texas Roadhouse, we get to say we [love] our jobs every day,” the chain wrote in the post last Thursday.
The company’s board of directors also announced last week that President Jerry Morgan would assume the company’s role.