Kent Taylor, the CEO and founder of the popular restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse, died on Thursday by suicide after going through “unbearable” COVID-19 symptoms, according to his family.
Texas Roadhouse confirmed his death in a Facebook post, saying “We will miss you, Kent. Because of you and your dream of Texas Roadhouse, we get to say we [love] our jobs every day.”
We will miss you, Kent. Because of you and your dream of Texas Roadhouse, we get to say we ❤ our jobs every day. #WeLoveYouKent #TXRHFamily #RoadhouseStrongPosted by Texas Roadhouse on Friday, March 19, 2021
Taylor’s family said in a statement to CNN that the CEO “took his own life” following “a battle with post-COVID related symptoms, including severe tinnitus,” or ringing in the ear, and the suffering increased within his final days.
“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 said. “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.”
Along with long term physical impacts, staff at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare say the disease can cause a lot of anxiety and stress leading to issues with mental health.
“You don’t know how your body’s going react and how it’s going affect you, you know, it could be something as cold symptoms, or someone might end up on a ventilator so that fear of the unknown I think weighs on people’s mental health,” Community Prevention Initiatives Coordinator Shelia Lythgoe said.
Based out of Louisville, Kentucky, Texas Roadhouse has over 600 restaurants in 49 states.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer took to Twitter to extend his condolences, saying the city “lost a much loved and one-of-a-kind citizen with Kent Taylor’s passing.”
Louisville lost a much loved and one-of-a-kind citizen with Kent Taylor’s passing today. 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. 1/2— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) March 19, 2021