Lowell Hawthorne, founder and CEO of Caribbean restaurant chain Golden Krust, was found dead at his Bronx factory on Saturday due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 57 years old.
Hawthorne launched the restaurant shortly after arriving from Jamaica at age 21 in 1989. He began selling beef empanadas, chicken with French fries and cocoa bread and expanded his business to a national franchise with 120 locations in the following 28 years .
New York Daily News reported that authorities discovered a note left by Hawthorne, but did not disclose its contents.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness shared his condolences with loved ones and Hawthorne employees on Twitter.
My condolences to the friends, family and employees of Lowell Hawthorne, born in Jamaica and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill.
He led the largest franchise chain in the Caribbean in the US UU., With more than 120 stores. pic.twitter.com/PX9MpD2Mkg
– Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) December 3, 2017
City Councilman of Queens I. Daneek Miller also issued a statement, by CBS New York
"We can not conceive the idea that Lowell Hawthorne, the baker's son of the Jamaican community of Border, whose culinary gifts and spirit of making peace gave rise to a growing restaurant and food retailer that employs several hundred of people in places across America, now it's gone, "Miller wrote.
"Since its inception, Golden Krust has always been more than a franchise," he continued. "It is an expression of cultural pride and devotion to the community, and I would like to express my condolences to the Hawthorne family for the sudden and untimely pbading of their beloved Lowell, we will not forget the many contributions of the man who brought the flavor of the Caribbean to the world."
In his 2012 book, The Baker & # 39; s Son Hawthorne details his rise to success before and after immigrating to the United States. He also appeared in a 2016 episode of "Undercover Boss."
Hawthorne is survived by his wife and four children, who work for the company.
At the time of his death, Golden Krust planned to build a $ 37 million headquarters in Rockland County, New York. The New York Daily News said Hawthorne had a deep tax debt and faced a lawsuit by a former employee.