The Founder & CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill was found dead inside in his Bronx factory Saturday evening (Dec. 2) in what authorities are reporting as a suicide.

According to reports, Lowell Hawthorne, 57, shot himself inside the Park Avenue building near E. 173rd Street. in Claremont at about 5:30PM. Employees who worked closely with Hawthorne expressed a range of emotions from shock to sadness.

“He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman,” Pete Tate, a former employee said. “He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”

Hawthorne opened the first Golden Krust restaurant in 1989 on E. Gun Hill Road and later went onto build a chain of stores selling Jamaican beef patties along with other cuisine intrinsic to the island. In total, Hawthorne owned and operated 120 stores in nine states.

One of Hawthorne’s longest employees Pat Russo spoke with The New York Daily News and didn’t quite know how to wrap his mind around the surprising death.

“It doesn’t make any sense. He had everything to live for,” Russo, who is president of the Chef’s Choice food company, said. “He was a brilliant business guy. The perfect American success story.”

Upon learning of Russo’s death, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holmes took to Twitter to express his grief.

Along Holmes there were others who took to social media to express their sadness.