Don Perry, the vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, died Friday.
PHOTO: CNN
Don Perry, the vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, died Friday.

Story highlights

Don Perry was the vice president of public relations for the fast-food chain

He started at the company in 1983

(CNN) —  

Don Perry, the vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, has died, according to a statement from the University of Georgia, where he served on the board of the journalism school.

Perry, originally from Valdosta, Georgia, started at the fast-food chain in 1983, helping launch the public relations arm of the company, he told Georgia Magazine in an alumni profile published last month.

The Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A had annual sales of more than $4.1 billion last year and has more than 1,615 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C., with the strongest concentration in the Southeast.

It has recently come under fire by gay rights supporters for comments made by the company President Dan Cathy, who said the company backs the traditional family unit.

How the Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy has evolved

Henson, Huckabee take sides in Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A’s stance on marriage