The founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill shot himself in his factory. As the New York Daily News reports, 57-year-old Lowell Hawthorne committed suicide in his building in the Bronx around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
With Golden Krust, the Jamaican native created a national food chain—known for its signature beef patties— with over 120 restaurants spanning 30 states. The business was inspired by his family's bakery in Jamaica.
Coworkers, both past and present, are grappling to come to terms with his death. “He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman,” shared Pete Tee a former employee. “He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”
“It doesn’t make any sense. He had everything to live for,” said Pat Russo, President of Chef’s Choice food company and who worked with Hawthorne since the '90s. “He was a brilliant business guy. The perfect American success story.”
As The New York Times reports, Hawthorne worked with his wife and four children.
Hawthorne's death made it to his homeland, where Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness shared a tweet of condolences in the aftermath. "My condolences to the friends, family and employees of Jamaica-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill."
Hawthorne reflected on his success last week, when he opened a Golden Krust in Houston. “I was always in search of the next honest means to make a dollar,” he wrote on Facebook. “Like many transplanted Caribbean nationals, I struggled to work and raise a family. I can only thank God for everything I have achieved, and if my story here can inspire others to rise up and give it a go, then I would have succeeded in doing something meaningful.”