Right as his company became embroiled in one of the biggest PR nightmares an American company has ever faced, Donald Perry, Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of Corporate Public Relations, died of a heart attack this morning.
“We are saddened to report the news to you that our dear friend Don Perry passed away suddenly this morning,” read a statement from the company. “Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 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.”
After the initial controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A’s stance against marriage equality, the company suffered numerous black eyes in public perception: It appeared stores had pulled Jim Henson Company toys as retribution, and the corporation was accused of creating a fake Facebook account to respond to criticism. Mayors from Boston and Chicago denounced the chain and, just yesterday, teens from Youth Empowered to Act picketed the new Chick-fil-A franchise in Orange County, California.
None of that could have been good for Perry’s ticker.
Still, we don’t relish the death of anyone—well maybe Fred Phelps and James Holmes—and we hope Perry’s health wasn’t affected by an overabundance of greasy fried chicken in his diet.