As Chick-fil-A continues to generate controversy over statements company President Dan Cathy made regarding same-sex marriage, they have suffered the loss of their lead spokesman Don Perry.
Perry was Chick-fil-A's Vice President of Corporate Public Relations, having been with the company for almost 29 years.
Chick-fil-A said that Perry died "suddenly," this morning. ABC News is reporting that Perry suffered a heart attack.
Last week, Chick-fil-A found themselves in the middle of a PR controversy when President Dan Cathy said he was "guilty as charged" in his opposition to same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-a has made no attempts to hide the fact that they are a Christian-based company, but to hear this statement the carried such certitude set off many marriage equality supporters.
Later, Chick-fil-A went into a little bit of damage control mode, as they walked back Cathy's statements, saying,
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
That statement was the work of Don Perry, who added that "leaving the policy debate" meant "not proactively being engaged in the dialogue."
Here's what Chick-fil-A had to say about Perry's death in a statement:
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.
As of now, Chick-fil-A continues to try to clear the air surrounding the controversy, taking to Facebook to clarify their version of recent events: