Golden Krust CEO Lowell Hawthorne found dead at 57

A spicy Jamaican beef patty at a Golden Krust Bakery in the Downtown

A spicy Jamaican beef patty at a Golden Krust Bakery in the Downtown

Lowell Hawthorne is the president and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, the nation's largest manufacturer, distributor, and franchiser of Caribbean baked products, which made history becoming the first Caribbean-owned business in the U.S to be granted a franchise license.

Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill operates a chain of over 100 restaurants across nine states in the Us, namely New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and MA.

The company now has more than 120 outlets in nine states, and sells its beef patties in more than 20,000 supermarkets, as well as to the city school system, state penal system and U.S. military, according to a news release issued previous year.

Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted his condolences.

"Look how far he reached", Wayne Muschamb said. But the company had already won the support of the Rockland Industrial Development Agency, which negotiated more than $1.2 million in tax incentives to lure Golden Krust north.

"I want to be the next McDonald's", Hawthorne told the Miami Herald in 2004 during a visit to South Florida to stir up interest in Golden Krust franchises. "I don't know if the pressures of running the business was too much, but I'm shocked". He takes care of his employees.

The business became so successful that the Hawthorne's were encouraged to create franchises, and they seized the opportunity to do just that, resulting in the huge expansion of the business.

According to the New York Daily, there was no known cause or reason why the well-known businessman and philanthropist shot himself.

While Golden Krust started in New York, Hawthorne became a national star when he was a guest on the hit CBS show Undercover Boss past year. "Like many transplanted Caribbean nationals, I struggled to work and raise a family", Hawthorne wrote.

"If my story here can inspire others to rise up and give it a go, I would have accomplished something meaningful".

A family member told detectives that Lowell Hawthorne, 57, admitted the huge tax debt to some of his relatives, and was "acting funny" and "talking to himself" in the hours before his suicide, a law-enforcement source said Sunday.

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