NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Paul McIlhenny, chief executive officer of the company that makes Tabasco sauce, died of a heart attack at his New Orleans home. He was 68.
In 1998, McIlhenny, who died Saturday, became the sixth member of the family to rise to president of the firm and became chief executive officer two years later, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.
At the time of his death, he still held the CEO position and also served as chairman of the board of directors.
His ancestor, Edmund McIlhenny, founded the company in 1868 on Avery Island, The Times-Picayune reported. It now sells the hot sauce in 165 countries.
He joined the family business in 1967 after receiving a degree in political science from the University of the South in Tennessee.
McIlhenny worked to expand the number of Tabasco clothing items and other accessories, the newspaper said.
During his time with the company, he also served on the America's Wetland Foundation after becoming concerned about Louisiana's fragile coastline.