The Jamaican-born founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, Lowell Hawthorne, fatally shot himself inside his factory in Bronx, New York, on Saturday, reports said. The body of Hawthorne, 57, was found inside the Park Avenue factory in Claremont section of Bronx around 5:30 p.m. EST Saturday.

Condolences poured in on social media, both from the United States and Jamaica, after news of Hawthorne’s suicide came under media attention.

"He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman. He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now," Pete Tee, a former employee said, according the News One website.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness also expressed his condolences to the friends, family and employees of Hawthorne on Twitter. 

Hawthorne's employees noticed that it was unusual, when they saw his car blocking a traffic lane outside the factory. Current and former employees were gathered outside the factory in shock and disbelief even hours after he killed himself.

"It doesn’t make any sense. He had everything to live for," Pat Russo, a longtime business associate, told News One. "He was a brilliant business guy. The perfect American success story."

Russo, who worked with Hawthorne and his brother since the 1990s added, "The one thing I learned a long time ago: You just don’t know what you think you know," the New York Daily News quoted him as saying.

Hawthorne opened the first ever Golden Krust restaurant, which specializes in Jamaican beef patties and the island’s cuisine, on E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx in 1989. The franchise has now grown into more than 120 restaurants across nine states, supplying more than 18,000 dollar stores and supermarkets. 

Hawthorne grew up in St. Andrew, Jamaica, and was the sixth of 11 siblings born to Mavis and Ephraim Hawthorne, who also owned a bakery in Jamaica. He first came to the U.S. in 1981 when he was 21 years old. In New York, Hawthorne obtained an associate degree in accounting from Bronx Community College and completed his graduation from Herbert H. Lehman College with a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing, according to his Facebook profile.

He served for nine years as an accountant with the New York Police Department before leaving to set up Golden Krust. His first restaurant was modeled on the bakery his father owned back in Jamaica. 

After several years of hard work, Golden Krust became the first Caribbean-American owned restaurant in the country to receive a franchise license. 

"We are shocked and saddened by the death of Lowell Hawthorne," tweeted New York City Mayor de Blasio. "Our prayers are with his family and his loved ones."

"The legacy of Lowell Hawthorne will live on," tweeted Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. "I admire him greatly for bringing our shared love for Jamaican culture to life on a larger scale through food and fellowship."