Beloved Texas Roadhouse CEO and Founder Kent Taylor took his own life after suffering unbearable COVID-19 symptoms. Taylor’s family confirmed Taylor “took his own life this week” after battling a number of post-COVID-19 symptoms. This included dealing with “severe” tinnitus, or the ringing or buzzing noises in one or both ears. “Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,” the statement read.
“But in true Kent fashion, he always found a silver lining to help others. Most recently, he committed to fund a clinical study to help members of the military who also suffer from tinnitus,” the statement continued.
Beloved Texas Roadhouse CEO
Texas Roadhouse, which has around 500 outlets in 49 states, also released a statement. “We will miss you, Kent. Because of you and your dream of Texas Roadhouse, we get to say we [love] our jobs every day,” the chain wrote in the post last Thursday.
Taylor made headlines last year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. He gave up his bonus and base salary to pay his chain’s workers during the shutdown. Taylor’s donation came to under $1 million. Taylor's base salary amounted to around $525,000, Meanwhile, his bonus totaled $525,000. “On a prorated basis, the forgone salary and bonus would be just under a $1 million donation to employees,” the spokesperson said at the time.
Meanwhile, Greg Moore, the lead director at the company, said that the “selfless act was no surprise to anyone who knew Kent and his strong belief in servant leadership.” Moore said the company will continue following Taylor’s footsteps. “He was without a doubt, a people-first leader. His entrepreneurial spirit will live on in the company he built, the projects he supported, and the lives he touched,” he added.
“Kent leaves an unmatched legacy as a people-first leader, which is why he often said that Texas Roadhouse was a people company that just happened to serve steaks. He 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 and often anonymous donations,” the statement continued. In addition, the Texas Roadhouse team paid tribute to their fallen leader's body of work. “He leaves behind a legendary company led by his hand-picked Leadership Team fueled by the passion of Roadies in communities around the world,” it added.
New Texas Roadhouse CEO
Last week, after weeks of planning for Taylor’s succession, the company’s board announced that President Jerry Morgan will assume the CEO role. “While you never expect the loss of such a visionary as Kent, our succession plan, which Kent led, gives us great confidence,” Moore said in a news release.
With the world experiencing the second year of COVID-19, more and more details are coming to light about the condition’s lingering symptoms. Studies show that the virus affects the cranial nerves, including the nerves for smelling and hearing. A protracted bout of COVID-19 can lead to anosmia or a condition where patients cannot smell anything. In turn, this can lead to dysosmia, where everything smells bad. Meanwhile, COVID-19 can also affect the ears, leading to dizziness, hearing loss, or tinnitus. The latter symptom can present itself as a transient condition. However, it can also progress to a relentlessly continued buzzing of the ear. Patients with severe tinnitus may have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts.
Prior to his death, Taylor committed to funding a clinical study of tinnitus sufferers among the military. Servicepeople often suffer from this condition due to chronic noise exposure such as gunfire, aircraft systems, or heavy machinery. Currently, authorities estimate that over 1.5 million military veterans suffer from tinnitus.
Note: If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using this link. Or, call the toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK. The NSPL operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Watch the Fox News video reporting that Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor commits suicide as he struggles with dealing with COVID-19:
Have you ever eaten at a Texas Roadhouse? Did you like their food and their service? Given the reports of CEO Kent Taylor’s generosity, will you dine in there soon? Let us know what you think about Kent Taylor and his chain Texas Roadhouse.
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