The co-founder and CEO of privately held sandwich chain Subway, Fred DeLuca, died at 67 on Monday, the company confirmed Tuesday.
DeLuca opened the restaurant a half century ago with a business partner when he was just 17 years old. Since its opening, it expanded at a quick clip. It ranks as the the country's biggest chain by units and third biggest by sales.
He had been battling Leukemia since 2013 and recently named his sister Suzanne Greco as president to run day-to-day operations for the chain.
Recently, Subway has drawn considerable media attention after it cut ties to longtime spokesman Jared Fogle amid a child porn investigation. Fogle pleaded guilty to charges last month.