Tabasco-Maker CEO Paul McIlhenny Dies At 68

Paul McIlhenny, the CEO and chairman of the company that makes Tabasco sauce, died on Saturday at age 68.

The McIlhenny Co announced the CEO’s death on Sunday in a news release. They said that his passions included hunting, fishing, wine-tasting, and game cooking.

The company was founded in 1868 on Avery Island. It is known for supplying hot sauces to Air Force One and to Britain’s royal family, reports Yahoo! News.

Paul joined the company in 1967. He was responsible for overseeing the production of its sauces for 13 years. He expanded the line of spicy sauces, as well as merchandise bearing the familiar Tabasco sauce symbol.

Tony Simmons, president of McIlnenny Co and a fifth-generation McIlhenny family member, stated of Paul’s death:

“All of McIlhenny Company and the McIlhenny and Avery families are deeply saddened by this news. We will clearly miss Paul’s devoted leadership but will more sorely feel the loss of his acumen, his charm and his irrepressible sense of humor.”

CBS News notes that Paul McIllhenny was responsible for creating record growth in sales and earnings during his time with the company. He took up the post of company president in 1998. Paul added the CEO title two years later. He remained the CEO until his death, but Simmons took over as president in 2012.

At the time of his death, McIlhenny also served as a company director. He was born on March 19, 1944 and grew up in New Orleans. He spent most of his time growing up moving between New Orleans and the family’s compound on Avery Island.

Along with his work at the Tabasco-brand company, Paul McIlhenny also was a board member of America’s Wetland Foundation. He had a longtime interest in preserving Louisiana’s southern coast lines, which are crumbling from decades of erosion.

There is no word on Paul McIlhenny’s cause of death.