Amid controversy, Chick-Fil-A public relations executive dies

Posted at 3:44 PM, Jul 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-27 16:05:09-04

ATLANTA (CNN) — Don Perry, the vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, has died, according to a statement from the University of Georgia, where he served on the board of the journalism school.

Perry, originally from Valdosta, Georgia, started at the fast-food chain in 1983, helping launch the public relations arm of the company, he told Georgia Magazine in an alumni profile published last month.

The Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A had annual sales of more than $4.1 billion last year and has more than 1,615 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C., with the strongest concentration in the Southeast.

It has recently come under fire by gay rights supporters for comments made by the company President Dan Cathy, who said the company backs the traditional family unit.

A National Same Sex Kiss Dayis has been organized at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country on Friday, August 3.

Here is the statement from Chick-fil-A:

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.