Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of Public Relations Don Perry died “suddenly” Friday morning, the company confirmed. Perry was based in the Atlanta area and worked in Chick-fil-A’s corporate communications department for 29 years.
Ross Cathy, who owns the Midland, Georgia Chick-fil-A and is related to the company’s CEO Dan Cathy, said Perry died of a heart attack, Columbus, Georgia’s News 3 reports. A company spokesman could not confirm Perry’s cause of death to ABC News.
Perry’s death comes amid controversy this week over comments that Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy made against gay marriage. Cathy told the Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” for supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
In response to the backlash, conservative commentator Mike Huckabee organized a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, calling on people who support the company’s Christian values to eat at Chick-fil-A next Wednesday.
“Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1,” Huckabee wrote on the Facebook page created for the event.
So far nearly 300,000 people have signed on to attend the event.
Here is the full statement from Chick-fil-A on Perry’s death:
“We are saddened to report the news to you that our dear friend Don Perry, vice president of public relations, passed away suddenly this morning.
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.”