Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor died on Thursday, the restaurant chain announced on its Facebook page. He was 65.
Taylor died by suicide after a battle with post-Covid-19 related symptoms, including severe tinnitus, the family said in a company-issued statement. Tinnitus is typically described as a ringing in the ear.
“After a battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe tinnitus, Kent Taylor took his own life this week,” the family said. “Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable.”
Taylor’s family said that Taylor recently committed to fund a clinical study to help members of the military who suffer with tinnitus.
“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 company wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
The Louisville-based restaurant company announced on Friday that President Jerry Morgan will be named CEO following Taylor’s death.
“While you never expect the loss of such a visionary as Kent, our succession plan, which Kent led, gives us great confidence,” said Greg Moore, Texas Roadhouse’s lead director.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted on Thursday that 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 wrote. “He was a maverick entrepreneur who embodied the values of never giving up and putting others first.”
If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or self harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at this link or by calling 1-800-273-TALK. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.