Don Perry, Chick-fil-A PR chief dies of heart attack

3:46 PM, Jul 27, 2012   |    comments
Don Perry Chick-fil-A via CBS News
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

(CBS News) Chick-fil-A's public relations head died Friday amid an ongoing controversy over the fast food chain CEO's views on same-sex marriage. In a statement, Chick-fil-A announced that Don Perry, vice president of public relations, died suddenly Friday morning.

"Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years," the statements said. "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," the statement added.

A company spokesman could not yet confirm how Perry passed away.

Perry, who joined Chick-fil-A in 1983 as the Atlanta-based company's first public relations profession, leaves behind a wife, three sons and a grandson.

According to his official company bio, he was responsible for "developing and overseeing external communications and publicity programs in support of key company initiatives."

The news comes as Chick-fil-A faces increasing calls for boycotts among politicians and activists after chief executive Dan Cathy expressed opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I think we're inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, you know, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes marriage,'" Cathy said in an interview on The Ken Coleman Show last month.

Cathy has talked about his socially conservative leanings before, but his recent comments became a catalyst for pro-LGBT activism.

Although some conservatives defended Chick-fil-A for sticking to Christian values, the criticism was much more overwhelming and the company's public relations team had launched a full-on damage control.

By Friday, Chick-fil-A's Facebook page and website were full of defensive statements. It denied accusations it created fake Facebook profiles and claimed it had voluntarily withdrawn from Jim Henson's Kids' Meal Puppets because of safety concerns. The company also went out of its way to insist it doesn't discriminate.

"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," the company said in a statement on July 19.

More Chick-fil-A coverage:

Chicago: Leaders take on Chick-Fil-A

Boston: Mayor vows to keep Chick-Fil-A out of city

Huckabee: Arkansas Governor backs Chick-Fil-A

Gay Marriage: Chick-fil-A gay marriage stance causes social storm

You May Also Like...

Photos: Florida politican's underwear pics circulate online

Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

Puppeteer Arrest: Man charged with child porn, accused of planning to kidnap and eat children

Deadly Game: Teen dies playing Russian roulette

PHOTOS: George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin crime scene pics

South Beach Cannibal: Homeless man's face chewed off

Bronies: Male fans attend My Little Pony convention

Cheerleader sex: Former Ben-Gal pleads not guilty to sex with teen

Bad girls: Teen girls arrested in slaying death of cabbie

Photos: Ex-Charlie Sheen Goddess Bree Olson

Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures

Sting: 31 pimps and prostitutes arrested (with pics)

Outrageous mug shot galleries...

Strange: Most notorious or unusual mug shots we've seen

Teachers:Teacher arrest mugshots

Jaw droppers:Open mouth mug shots

Smilers: Happy mug shots

Laughers: What's so funny mug shots

Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots

Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots 

Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots 

Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots

More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries

Most Watched Videos