Don Perry, head spokesman for fast-food chain Chick-fil-A died “suddenly” Friday morning, the company confirmed Friday.
Perry has been with the Atlanta-based company for 29 years, last holding the position of VP of public relations, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to Mashable. The spokesperson was unable to comment on the cause of death.
Chick-fil-A is under fire from gay rights’ activists after its CEO, Dan Cathy, voiced his support of the “traditional family” and the “Bibical definition of the family unit.” He later added, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'”
Activists have called for a boycott of the restaurant chain, and the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco have criticized Cathy’s statements publicly. In a letter to Cathy, Boston Mayor Tom Menino wrote, “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.” The Jim Henson Co. pulled its Muppet toys from Chick-fil-a’s kids’ meals.
Last week, Perry e-mailed out an official response to the controversy, stating that the company’s plans were to “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” The company’s policy, he wrote, “is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”