LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – The family of Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor said Friday that Taylor took his own life after a battle with COVID-related symptoms.
In a statement, the family said those symptoms included severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
The Louisville-based restaurant said Thursday that Taylor had died. He founded the company in 1993, which expanded to more than 630 locations in 49 states, including local locations in Ashland, Kentucky and Barboursville, West Virginia.
Below is the full statement issued Friday by the family:
“Our community and the restaurant industry lost a legend and the Taylor family lost a wonderful son, father and grandfather this week.
After a battle with post-Covid-related symptoms, including severe tinnitus, Kent Taylor took his own life this week. Kent fought and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that intensified enormously in recent days became unbearable.
But in the style of Kent, he always found a ray of light to help others. Most recently, he pledged to fund a clinical study to help members of the military who also suffer from tinnitus.
“Kent leaves behind an unrivaled legacy as a leader where people come first, which is why he often said that the Texas Roadhouse was a company of people who simply served steaks. It changed the lives of hundreds of millions of employees and guests over the past 28 years. He also impacted hundreds of thousands of people through his generous, often anonymous donations.
“Kent created what would eventually become the Texas Roadhouse into a cocktail napkin. Leave behind a legendary company led by its carefully curated Leadership Team driven by the passion of Roadies in communities around the world.
“All who knew him will miss him very much and Kent’s direction was always clear. Happy employees are happy guests.
“We are saddened by the decision Kent felt he had to make and want to emphasize more than ever the importance of asking for help if you or a loved one is suffering.
“As Kent used to say, ‘keep it legendary.’ “
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