COLUMBUS, Ga. – Donald A. Perry, vice president of corporate public relations for Chick-fil-A, died July 27, apparently from a heart attack, according to news reports.

Perry’s death comes amid controversy surrounding chief executive Dan Cathy, who expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A is facing calls from politicians and activists to boycott the fast food chain’s restaurants.

“We are saddened to report the news to you that our dear friend Don Perry, vice president of public relations, passed away suddenly this morning,” the company said in a statement released July 27. “Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years. 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 Univ. of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” the statement added.