Billionaire founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, died this morning at 1:35 a.m. He was 93.

Cathy was known as much for his Christian principles—Chick-fil-A’s are closed on Sundays—as his business cred (and then there was that same-sex marriage controversy that broke out in 2012). 

The entrepreneur began his career in the restaurant business when he opened an Atlanta diner called The Dwarf Grill with his brother in 1946. In 1961, Cathy developed what would become Chick-fil-A‘s trademark chicken sandwich; the idea and recipe came about when a company that cooked boneless, skinless chicken for airline meals wanted to sell him pieces that were too big for the airline’s needs. Cathy took those pieces and cooked them in a pressure cooker and served them in buttered buns. Genius.

The sandwich was sold at independent restaurants for a few years before Cathy opened his first Chick-fil-A restaurant at an Atlanta shopping mall in 1967. The rest is Chick-fil-A history.

Although Cathy was criticized for his outlook on gay marriage, it can’t be denied that he influenced the lives of many with his chicken products.

Chick-fil-A had sales of $5 billion in 2013 and beat out KFC a year earlier as the top U.S. chicken chain. Another fun fact: Cathy wrote several books, including the 2007 book “How Did You Do It, Truett?” and “Wealth: Is It Worth It?”. Be right back, going to go buy them on Amazon and figure out how to build our own chicken sandwich empire.

[via AJC, USA Today]

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