Kent Taylor, the founder and CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain, passed away last week at the age of 65. His family later stated that Taylor took his own life while suffering from post-coronavirus-related symptoms.
Texas Roadhouse first announced Taylor’s death on Friday. In a follow-up statement shared with Fox News, Texas Roadhouse and Taylor's family confirmed he was battling post-coronavirus symptoms, and specifically tinnitus, leading up to his passing.
"After a battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe tinnitus, Kent Taylor took his own life this week. Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,” read the statement, which added that Taylor had also committed funding to a study aiming to help military members who suffered from the condition.
"We are saddened by the decision Kent felt he needed to make and want to emphasize more than ever the importance of reaching out for help if you or someone you love is suffering. As Kent would so often say, 'keep it legendary,'" the statement concluded.
In the restaurant's initial announcement on Thursday, the board of directors stated that Taylor's spirit will "live on in the company he built, the projects he supported and the lives he touched."
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kent Taylor,” said Greg Moore, the lead director of Texas Roadhouse, in a statement issued March 18, the same day as Taylor’s passing. “He founded Texas Roadhouse and dedicated himself to building it into a legendary experience for ‘Roadies’ and restaurant guests alike.
“During the pandemic, he gave up his entire compensation package to help support his frontline workers. This selfless act was no surprise to anyone who knew Kent and his strong belief in servant leadership. He was without a doubt, a people-first leader," Moore said.
Taylor founded the Texas Roadhouse in 1993, opening the first restaurant in Clarksville, Indiana. There are currently over 630 restaurants in operation across 49 states and 10 foreign countries, according to the brand.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).