Chick-fil-A's Vice President of Public Relations Don Perry died unexpectedly Friday morning, the national chicken sandwich restaurant confirmed.
"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," said Chick-fil-A in a statement.
Prior to his death, Perry had been involved in handling Chick-fil-A's response to the growing controversy over company president Dan Cathy's remarks in recent interviews about his support for the traditional family unit. As a result of those comments, same-sex marriage supporters had lashed out at the company, urging people to boycott the restaurant. Several elected officials have also spoken out against the restaurant, saying they would like to keep the business out of their neighborhood or city.
In response, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has called on people to join in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on August 1 to show support for the Cathys as they face intense attack for their personal beliefs regarding the family and marriage.
Even 93-year-old evangelist Billy Graham released a statement Thursday voicing his support for the Cathys standing up for their Christian values despite the pushback from society.
So far, more than 300,000 people have confirmed they will go to a Chick-fil-A store on August 1 to show support for the company's leaders and traditional marriage.
"Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years," the company statement further shares. "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."