Chick-fil-A chief spokesman Don Perry died suddenly Friday, the embattled company announced in a statement.
Perry, who most recently was vice president of public relations, had worked with the Georgia-based chain for nearly 29 years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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“He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him,” the company said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
The company did not say how Perry died, although a family member of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told Columbus, Ga., TV station WRBL that he died of a heart attack.
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Chick-fil-A has come under fire from some patrons and politicians over Cathy's public support of traditional marriage and the "biblical definition" of families.
Protests have been staged at some of its restaurants and government officials have told the company it's not welcome in their cities, although some have since backpedaled on those statements, NBC News reported.