The CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, who built a nationwide business after moving to the United States from Jamaica, is being mourned after he reportedly killed himself in his New York City factory on Saturday.
Lowell Hawthorne, 57, who was born in Jamaica, opened the first Golden Krust storefront in the Bronx in 1989. The bakery, known for its beef patties, later grew into a franchise that now includes more than 100 stores in nine states.
Hawthorne died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Bronx factory on Saturday, according to The Journal News.
“It doesn’t make any sense. He had everything to live for,” longtime friend and business associate Pat Russo, the president of Chef’s Choice food company, told the New York Daily News. “He was a brilliant business guy. The perfect American success story.”
Current and former employees described Hawthorne as a good man, a smart leader and a humble boss.
“Look how far he reached. He’s known from here to Jamaica,” family friend Wayne Muschamb told the Daily News. “I’m kind of lost for words, man. This has got me shocked.”
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness shared condolences with Hawthorne’s family, friends and employees on Twitter.