The head of public relations at Chick-fil-A died Friday morning of an apparent heart attack, the company said Friday.

The College Park, Ga.-based company, which has about 1,500 restaurants in 40 states, announced that Donald A. Perry, the company's vice president of Corporate Public Relations, had passed away early Friday morning. Chick-fil-A chief executive officer Dan T. Cathy called Perry "a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him."

Perry's death comes as the closely held restaurant chain remains embroiled in a public relations crisis for Cathy's comments regarding same-sex marriage. Cathy told Baptist Press that the company opposed same-sex marriage and that they were "very much supportive of the family --  the biblical definition of the family."

Since the comments were made the company has faced a severe backlash and seen its relationship with The Jim Henson Company, which provided toys for the chain's Kid's Meal, end prematurely.

Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by S. Truett Cathy, a devout Baptist whose beliefs are reflected in keeping all Chick-fil-A restaurants closed on Sundays.